Sunday, June 2, 2024

Beadworkers Guild Challenge: Bead a Song.

When the new theme for this year's challenge was published, I knew instantly what to make, but I didn't feel like entering the "Previous Winners" category, because I needed time to bead together with other beaders of our Zoom beading group to enter the group challenge.

So I entered the Challenge in a Matchbox, to keep things small. It didn't win but I didn't even go for that, and there have to be losers anyway. That said, I am perfectly happy with it because I found the right technique for my "Little Yellow Basket" to a) look like real basketry, and b) to pop up. One can roll up the sides, so it is much taller than the matchbox, haha!




I used Peyote, Geometric Peyote, Herringbone, Netting, Brick stitch and Russian Spiral. The hinged handles and top are fully functional. There is a tiny little envelope, because the song mentions a love letter. I added tiny little flowers and bows to each  side. The perfect little basket to go picnicking in the garden... 

Which garden?

Well... maybe an English Country garden!

which is the song title we chose for our Group Challenge entry. Boy have I been busy with that! It takes a lot of time to write tuts, so imagine for a common project. We chose "English Country Garden" so that each member could make something. Some made a bird, some made leaves and greenery, some made flowers, some made an insect and some made several of all these, depending on their availability. 

A looooot of beading in total. This creation also exceeds the size of the box's maximum measurements: Sylvia, our fearless leader, thought of using magnets to allow an easier installation of the elements which travel flat.

There was no other group entry this year, which was quite a bummer, for winning by default is not really a win, but the whole group is chuffed to bits with the end result. 

Thing is, I have no photos to show but my garden gnome.

I forgot to make a photo of his friend the hedgehog, also in the scene... We will have to wait for the June Journal to show what was made. Torture. 

What I know about the other entries is that there was a lot of yellow and the pieces entered were all stunning.

So... apologies for this unusually short post about the challenge - I didn't want to let you wait until the end of June about this, and will post more as soon as I can. 

Until then... Happy Beading!


Wednesday, May 1, 2024

It's all about love

I have new things to tell you! And thinking about it, it's all about love. Quite a while ago, I answered to someone that I bead to create emotions. This remains true.

For my lovely physiotherapist who is awaiting a baby girl, I made a long necklace with a small "Mexican Bola", also called Chime bead, Pregnancy or Harmony ball. She chose the colours and I happily obliged. At first I tried to make a bola canasta for her, of course, because she saw them. But it didn't work, which I expected, because the chime bead has to be free to sound right. So I made a larger one, which didn't seem right for her. So I turned to an older of my designs, the Open Heart. It looks smaller, more feminine. I can't wait to give it to her. And to my surprise, when I posted a short video on Facebook about how it sounds... many of you ordered the tut to make one too! Thank you so much!

Left to right: Small Bola, Open Heart, a bit larger bola

I also want to tell about 4 women I would like to celebrate. They (and others) make the world a better place.

Let me start with Carol, who is such a sweet person. She sells crocheted items for charity. She made soft mask adapters during Covid and gifted hundreds of them to nurses and paramedics. One day I asked to buy a pair of fingerless gloves and a matching beanie. She sent them to me but she never wanted to be paid. I was surprised! I promised myself to do something to thank her. But there is not so much that I can do... So I named my Laroque Girandoles after her (because they look as sweet as she). I reversed 2 letters and voilà! I was stunned that they landed on the cover of the 101st Beadworkers Guild Journal this month!

Laroque - Girandoles

For the note, these "Girandoles" were created within the framework of a long article about seed pearls and how incredible creations were made with them back in time. I hope that you will enjoy learning more about it. If you click on the image below, a link will take you to the Pinterest album with all the pictures I gathered while investigating about this wonderful art.


My 3 Bowlas - for which I just planned 3 workshops (see more details here) are obviously also named after persons, and they're awesome:

The turquoise Bénédicte is named after Béné, whom I met on Zoom and Facebook. She and I bonded immediately. If there is something like cosmic sisters, we must be two!

The yellow Martina is for my wonderful friend living here in Switzerland. It's going to sound strange, but I wish that we lived closer. Lol! She lives in the mountains, at quite a distance driving, and has a busy job. But we manage to meet from time to time, and love to bead together, and help one another with other things when we can.

The red Sabine is named after the most lovely customer one can dream of. She is incredibly supportive of my work, through email and on Facebook, she often posts an encouraging comment. She also has bought every single pattern in my shop, but in addition to that she also has bought some of them more than once to support me when things were tough for me. Let that sink in... She doesn't need them. She just buys them out of sheer generosity. 

Bowlas: the Sabine, the Martina and the Bénédicte

I'm so grateful for these women. And for other women too. From now on, I will name more of my creations after people who rock my world.

Last but not least, I finished writing the tutorial for the Pilot Wings, the slide pendant that so many of you asked a tutorial for. Here it is! I called Silver Wings the one made for the stand of the Beadworkers Guild in Daventry and at other shows this year - they celebrate their 25th anniversary! Happy Wings is the name of the one that I made to do the tutorial. I hope that you will make Blue Wings, Fairy Wings, Rainbow wings... Many wings!


Thank you for reading me and for beading with me. And if you have a story about a friend or about some random kindness, something that made your day or the world better, please tell me about it in the comments!


Wednesday, April 3, 2024

A triple Anniversary!!!

Hello everyone! 

I realize today that I haven't written on my blog since December and it's April! How could this happen? I don't know, but I've been very busy the past months with beading new designs, and of course I cannot show you much before things are published. That might be the reason why I didn't write anything here.. but today, I have things to show and tell.

First a little hurray: today is the day I started beading, 20 years ago. In my head at first... and beads arrived a bit later :D That's because at first I found myself marveling at photos of utterly gorgeous creations made for that year's Bead dreams contest, shown on the website of  Fire Mountain Gems and Beads. I was so overwhelmed with the variety of materials and techniques, that I had to first find out  where to start.

I think that I have browsed every page of their website (if that is possible), to understand what was what, and to learn as much as I could and when I finally placed my first order, a very modest little package of beads that included glass pearls and Matsuno silver-lined seed beads, I never would have dreamed that I would win their Gold Grand Prize in 2006 with my "Roma" design. 
Now just to say how far we've come with our smart phones and YouTube videos... back in 2005, to send them digital photos, I had to order a little camera because I didn't even have one. Oddly, I never made a new photo of the set since then... and thought that for this 20th anniversary of my beading adventure, a new photography made in my light box was a must.

Secondly, I just sent a box with lovely beadwork to the Beadworkers Guild for their "Silver with a hint of black" yearly display. This colorway was chosen by the Guild because they celebrate their Silver Jubilee! 
Happy 25th anniversary BWG
Thank you for bringing beadworkers together and for promoting our lovely Art! 

Together with other pretty things, another Fire Mountain Gems and Beads contest winning design traveled in the box: my Skadi Gauntlet (2019 Grand Prize Bronze medal). I did a new shooting for it too - it is in the yellow 'box' in the photo collage above. I also had lots of fun trying out the bright colored backgrounds that came with the Puluz light box. Silver (and black) perfectly matches every color, and suits everyone.
You can spy a bracelet designed by Sylvia Fairhurst - Ice Ice, on the right, and another one made with a special Diamond Weave variation  on the left. 
Also, let me know what you think about the knotted ribbon necklace with donut? I might tutify it, as well as this Sterling Silver slide pendant... when I have a moment :D

All these colors bring us to this year's International Beading Week. It will be the 10th Edition of what probably is the most exciting Beading event online AND in real life for those of you who are lucky enough to have IRL meetings at this occasion! This wonderful celebration of the Art of Beading initiated by the Beadworkers Guild started as National Beading Week and it is the very best week in the year for ALL beaders WORLDWIDE. Who is going to meet? Who will be bipping? (Beading in Public). For that's what it is about: to show and share to give the gift of beading.

Below you can see that this year I decided to take the little beads from the logo and use them to decorate my solitaire board. This will be my contribution to the free patterns this year. Stay tuned! 

I hope that some of you will be able to meet with beading friends, and that some of you will do demonstrations to inspire somebody to give our beautiful art a try.
Talking about Silver and Black matching everything: Black & White do this too, reason why I chose primary colours together with black and white for my new workshop design "Bowlas". The metallic colors were chosen to fit the primary colors best.

And the base features a unique mandala: 

I will soon update my website with dates. If you wish to organize a class for your beading society or shop, please get in touch with me through the contact page.

Monday, December 25, 2023

A lovely end to a difficult year.

Looking back at it... it's been quite an 'annus horribilis'. Not very long after my MIL passed, my father left this earth too, short before his 92nd birthday. I didn't get a chance to see him irl one last time, although this was planned - but my husband ALSO ended up in hospital at the same moment, and nearly died - they nearly let him die and then saved him in extremis. He needed me here.

My dad with his partner An,
photographed by my MIL at her place.

My dad had a bad fall resulting in 2 broken ribs. The doctors decided against surgery because of his age, giving him no other option but going in a care facility, wearing a corset all the time, completely dependent. Although he didn't complain, I know that he would have hated that. He contracted a chest infection at the same time, probably Covid, and passed away. I could only see him one last time through Zoom......
I've decided to be grateful for these two things: that I could see him (he clearly recognized me despite his slowly progressing dementia), and that he didn't have to finish his life in a care facility, suffering every day, away from his friend(s) and family. I still have moments of pure frustration when I think about it. Life can be so mean. And then I think of what he always said "you've got to make something out of it somehow - and you do that so well, with your beads".

So I bead on. And thankfully, I cannot complain, beady wise. Rather the contrary. Beading is and will remain my life-line, my occupational therapy. It is also a way of creating bridges between me and you, so that it remains a source of joy. There is no fun in beading all alone. I'm grateful that there are still Zoom beading meetings.

Two projects that I love dearly were published this year in the Beadworkers Guild Journal, the Princess Check pouch & hounds tooth earrings and the Spindle Berries. The latter surprisingly ended up gracing the cover of the October Journal. Doesn't it look really nice?!


In May, my Polar Project got awarded the BWG Founder's Award in the Yearly Challenge which theme was Fur & Feathers. I learned recently that this kind of artwork is also called Craftivism. I like that!

I didn't include it in the challenge submission, because it would have been too long (we may only use a limited number of words to talk about our inspiration) but when I created my polar project for the Beadworkers Guild, I felt the urge to write this poem, which I didn't add to my already too long article about it:


Oh let me see
the frozen arctic sea,
where polar bears frolic in the snow,
and baby seals change as they grow
and watch Northern lights glow.

But not now.

Let me delight in the sight
of silent snowy owls in flight,
above a tundra covered with ice,
the frigid kind of paradise
for arctic hares to colonise.

But not now.

When I'm old,
may there still be this land of cold,
where each and every amazing creature
has a thick coat of feathers or fur,
to stay snug and warm
even in a bitter-cold winter storm.


In fact, Nanuq, Natsiq, Ukpiq and Ukaliq are a beaded poem. I am really proud of this project. I promised our lovely new Challenge admin, Elaine Wood, that I would send her a photo of me with this award. Instead of making another bad selfie, I decided to ask a professional photographer - Jo Simoes -, but the award took some time to arrive here and, believe it or not, my hairdresser succeeded to mess up my hairdo twice, so it had to grow a bit before taking an appointment. Then I caught covid and my hair nearly became too long. I nevertheless love the photo - styling and make-up myself, photography Jo Simoes:

Yours truly with the Guild's Founders Award

This year, again, I've done plenty of things that took a lot of time and which I cannot show. I wanted to publish more Muserie designs, and do Octavio, but I've got only one head and two hands... Last year was the same, so in 2024, I think that I will do things a little bit differently. Don't expect miracles though: I have an allotment in a communal veggie garden since short, and I love being there each time the sun is not around, which happened nearly too often this Fall. 

I could make the two necklaces below: a  spindle berries necklace & earrings, made for the jumper I'm wearing in the photo with the award, and a similar yet more Art Deco one, with olive branches, which is another piece I've been wanting to make since long. I hope to write a pattern for the olive branches soon, but the materials are hard to find, which might be really annoying for those who want to make the same piece. I am actively looking for substitutes.


I could also finish a "last minute" something that was waiting patiently for attention. Perhaps you  remember that I wrote an article about my new Puluz light box? (I still wonder how I could live without it.) Well, the first photo in that article shows a bead embroidered pendant with a lush fringe which I made within the framework of a Meet, Mingle & Make meeting of the Guild. I could not make it entirely to my muse's desire, so I promised to redo and show it if I could find more of the madder rose fire polished beads I needed more of. I could. And so here is the result.


Which one do you prefer?

The muse and myself prefer the new version because the fringe still has an arrow design pointing down, but also an arrow pointing upwards, like an elevator. And well, yes, it is sooo lush, and quite Art deco-ish and a bit of Art Deco is something that I like too.



Now could you please help me to choose an avatar for my future articles and blog posts, FB profile pic, etc? Jo Simoes's offer included two photos, so for the second one, I chose a to wear a dress, with my Thétis épaulette - my entry in the 2022 Guild Challenge. Here too, the jewellery was made for the dress.

I like both photos. Perhaps one for the winter season and one for the summer? Which one do you prefer?



The more I look at them, the more I prefer the one with the jumper. 

Note that I still had sparks in the eyes from the beautiful show of the Sokol Company who presented their absolutely wonderful adaptation of the book by Saint Exupéry, the Little Prince

When hubby and I caught Covid (our first time - we were really sick), it felt like this was a very bad ending to an already too hard year. I had to find something to change that to the title that you are reading above. So... still sick, I booked the seats to boost our spirits and beat the Covid. 

We beated it. We had a wonderful time. Husband was as happy as me. The video below gives a good impression of how lovely this show was:

We're still tired and taking it easy, but it's all good now!

2023, good bye!

And to you: thank you for reading me, for following me, for supporting me. 

I wish you all a wonderful Season, be it Christmassy or not.
Have a wonderful time and a wonderful start of the New Year. 

See you on the other side!


Saturday, August 5, 2023

Storage update

We had a great evening with the Beadworkers Guild on the Thursday Zoom meeting during IBW, when we talked about storage hacks. Not only useful, but so much fun was had. All the lucky attendants later got an email from Sylvia Fairhurst with all the links to the best storage hacks and solutions we knew of, including a link to my past article about the subject

Perhaps you will remember it? I had a larger space for my beading than I have nowadays. It now is a "handkerchief-sized studio". Hopefully I will soon have more space again. But the storage solutions, which also include many great tips from other beaders and designers, is still worth reading.

Now today, I have to show you what I chose for my numerous seed bead tubes, because back when I wrote "Bead organized", the solution hadn't been found yet. And boy, have I been searching and searching!!! Photo of the 10 trays in place:


I already had Kallax units (they were called Expedit back when I purchased them) and fortunately IKEA still sells accessories for these units fortunately IKEA finally sells clever storage accessories for these units. And they are compatible.

During one of the lovely Chloe Menage's Zoom meetings, she kindly shared her storage solution. She has a very big Kallax storage unit, and among other things, in there she had little trays adapted to the "cubes" and plastic trays. These trays were not real trays but boxes, of which she used both the box and the lid for trays. I immediately fell in love with it,because I had been searching for a better solution to replace my transparent A4 document tray tower that was getting too small for my growing seed bead collection, and also old and a bit damaged... and so noisy! Hard plastic trays are terrible, whereas this box is just the right material.

I could not be happier with the result. 

If you love beading and are interested in this solution, all you need is 

1 small Kallax unit

 1 or more inserts

4 or 8 more boxes from Weltonboxes (resulting in 8 or 16 "trays")


(sold by Westonboxes on their website)

and there you go!

 Happy organizing!