Wednesday, December 28, 2011

End of year

As we get to the end of the year, I get reflective. I like to have goals so that I have a direction. I'm getting better at focusing individual projects that I've started but I still have built up years worth of UFOs. So...current projects include:

Beaded Flower - amaryllis
Beading - ?
Knitting (large) - Frost Flowers & Leaves Shawl
Knitting (small) - Climbing Lace Socks
Spinnning - something on each wheel and a spindle

I also took a "flash my stash" picture tonight

So... I'm very close to finishing up the pair of socks and I may be able to get through that by the end of the year (yes, in 2 days). I'm also very close to finishing up the fiber I have on Suzie and plying goes quick so I can empty off that wheel. I'll probably finish spinning up what's on the spindle on Suzie.

I need a small break from the amaryllis but there's not much left to be done, okay well half. And if I take the metro to work more, I can work through more socks.

Also, the goal for the year is to reduce the size of the stash so that it can all fit on the full sized bed.

I also want to spin through one of the Socks That Rock bags of fiber.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Bead Embroidered Bracelet

Bead embroidery is a beautiful thing...when you complete it. I've had some many starts on bead embroidered projects but I've never finished. For me, bead embroidery tends to be a free form thing and I get distracted and lose interest after a while. So, I was incredibly pleased with myself that I was able to finish this one for my friend Shawn's birthday.

Sunday night, I had my bracelet, my suede backing and the brass cuff
Shawn's Bead Embroidered Bracelet

Then you add some epoxy and get high off the fumes
Shawn's Bead Embroidered Bracelet

Then you sew the edges together
Shawn's Bead Embroidered Bracelet

To get this
Shawn's Bead Embroidered Bracelet

Shawn's Bead Embroidered Bracelet

Shawn's Bead Embroidered Bracelet

And finally
Shawn's Bead Embroidered Bracelet

Monday, December 19, 2011

A holiday poinsettia

I don't tend to make many Christmas holiday season related beaded things because I don't really decorate for Christmas. However, when I was invited to my friend Susan's house and heard her jokingly complain about how none of her beading friends made her any flowers for her house, I knew exactly what I was going to make her

Poinsettia For Susan

Poinsettia For Susan

And here it is in its current setting

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

NYC Marathon 2011

It's been 4 years in the making. The ING New York City Marathon has a few methods for guaranteed entry but I'm just not fast enough or live close enough and also didn't want to fundraise. My options was to try my luck at the lottery. When I started, there was the guaranteed entry where if you were rejected for three straight years, you were automatically in the race for the 4th. So, 4 years in the making. I hear they're getting rid of most of the guaranteed entry methods in the near future. As usual, I ran this with my friend Reshma.

The full photo set is here.

The marathon expo was crowded and pretty insane. I'm usually okay in a crowd but I had to get in, get my stuff, and get out.

Marathon day started in the pre-dawn hours. By the time we signed up for transportation to the start, the latest option was the 5:30am bus. And our start time wasn't until 10:40. Yup, 5 hours in the freezing cold.
Verazzano Bridge - pre-dawn
Trying to nap

It had started to warm up by the time we started so everyone was able to shed some layers. All of the clothes left at the start (this is just a small bit of what was discarded)
Pre-race - clothing donation
is being donated to the homeless.

Finally (FINALLY!) at 10:40, we were underway. It took a long time for the crowd to thin out. The longest part of the race was in Brooklyn. I had motivation to get to at least the 15 mile mark because my friend Josh was going to be somewhere around mile 8 and Sonia was going to be around mile 14. I felt great at mile 8 and I was starting to feel the fatigue at mile 15.

I had been having ankle problems leading up to this race. I was ramping up the mileage way too quickly and my body couldn't keep up. In trying to take pictures and recording the race, it would force me to slow it down a bit and give my ankle a break. On the Queensboro Bridge, there was a section that had a beautiful view of both Queens (I think) and Manhattan so of course, I stopped and took a few pictures.
Over the Queensboro Bridge
Over the Queensboro Bridge

The Queensboro bridge was the bit of hell that everyone talked about. It seemed like an endless uphill and I walked it to save some energy. Back into Manhattan and I was ready to go again until I really got into the Upper East Side and noticed the slight but long incline. Around mile 18, my ankle started to bother me and the Bronx felt like it would never come. Crossing the bridge into the Bronx was a welcome sight! An even more welcome site? The entrance into Central Park because it meant the end was near!
I finally made it to Central Park!

Between miles 24 and 25, I saw a couple of people laying on the side of the road with police and medical personnel standing over them. I did not want to be them, to have come so close to finishing and being unable to do so. At this point, it hurt my ankle to walk and my quads didn't have it in them to keep running so I did the best I could to just finish. 6 hours and 29 minutes later, I finally crossed the finish line. My brain could not form coherent thoughts and the only things I knew were that I had to get out of there for the 7pm dinner reservations and I needed to stop at the medical tent for some ice for my ankle.
Icing my ankle in the medical tent

The exit chute was the longest I've ever experienced. Normally, when you cross the finish line, there's a couple of hundred feet where it's only the finishers and the people trying to put medals on you and give you water and food. They blocked off the exit chute with some high walls and I must have walked 2 miles just to get from the finish line back out to the street. Seriously, we all just traversed 26 miles on our feet and we have another 2 to go? It was incredibly hard to get a cab and I ended up hopping on the subway to get closer to the hotel. I finally managed to get a cab as people were getting out and there was a woman who started walking towards it with her two kids as I was standing by the door. At that moment, my feet didn't work so well but I would have jumped her and wrestled her for the cab then and there because my feet were not going to take me the 10 blocks to get to the hotel.

Dinner was pushed back to 7:30 and I got a half rack of ribs. I wish the ribs were a little fattier but I can't complain because the thought of them did help me get through the end of the race.

It was a great race. New Yorkers throw a great party! Thanks for having us!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Order in Chaos

To me bead embroidery is a bit chaotic. I don't normally go into it with a plan of any sort. I may start off with an idea and let it go where it might take me. As it grows, lines to start to form and there is some order within the beads that I love to see and feel.

New bead embroidery

Thursday, September 29, 2011


One amaryllis made. This isn't completely finished. I wanted to add just a little bit of greenery to the bottom. Once I've done that, I will take some better pictures.

I have also started on a second amaryllis!
Amaryllis parts

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Milady's Pendant

Last year, I took a class with Cynthia Rutledge. Finally, I'm done.

Milady's Pendant

The pendant itself was mostly completed by the time class was over but I had set it aside for a while.

Milady's Pendant

I pulled it out last week and finished up the bail and made the spacers. The last couple of days, the east coast had been visited by hurricane Irene so I decided that I would hunker down and try to put the necklace together. I spent a lot of time working on the clasp and in fact, this is the second version of the clasp that I made.

Milady's Pendant toggle clasp

Since the necklace itself is actually strung, I originally thought about using a metal clasp but what I had on hand did not do this piece justice. So, I decided to bead it. The first iteration of this clasp also had a beaded bead cap that cupped the end pearls with a loop inside through which I could thread my Softflex. However, the combination of the loop and the crimp bead left the bead cap sitting just a bit apart from the pearl so I put it aside last night and went to bed. This morning, I came up with this iteration.

Milady's Pendant toggle

The toggle and loop are made and I decrease the ends to a loop so they look like a part you would buy at a store. I then strung the same beads onto the Softflex and used that as the connecting loop on my necklace.

I do love this necklace and I must find a way to incorporate this into my wardrobe. It is a beautiful piece and very ornate but by day, I'm a software developer who dresses business casual leaning more casual!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

When life gets hard...

I bead. The last time that I really remember taking solace in my beads was when I worked for Raytheon and I helped make some of the flowers for Donna's book. I haven't really touched my knitting much in recent days but I'm zipping through the beads. I picked this up again today.

Milady's Brooch & Pendant Ornament

It's Cynthia Rutledge's Milady's Brooch/Pendant Ornament. I'm opting for the pendant since I don't really use brooches. I took this class when she taught at Bead Obsessions last year and when I put it aside, I was very close to being done. I held off because the dangly bit wasn't quite centered but a year later and looking at it with some tired eyes, it looks fine. I just need to finish off the bail and string it up with those pearls and I can wear it out! I'm looking forward to new jewelry!

Sunday, August 14, 2011






I have new wall art! This is Donna's clematis pattern that was originally for a potted plant but I have adapted it to fit in a frame. There is only so much surface area to place stuff before you have to start going up a wall. A clematis being a climbing vine, it was perfect for this! My trellis is made up of 3 pieces of 16 gauge stem wire that I beaded. There was some fun with a staple gun involved. Every time I fired the staple gun, I hoped that it wouldn't accidentally end up going into a finger or leg.

It's probably just me but I enjoy dimensional art much more than just a flat piece. It appeals to me more. Look at what I create, have you ever seen me paint or draw? It's not pretty. I like the effect of the 3 cut beads on the flowers versus the regular beads on the flowers. It helps the flowers to pop out more.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Getting closer!

Remember all of that greenery? Well, we're getting a little closer!


Donna is back to teaching. Her students are all slowly finding their ways back to the beaded flowers. Life had taken over for a bit but we're all slowly coming back to our old projects. I've even managed to hook up with an old friend that I knew from this group. She lives up in Baltimore and we lost touch when she changed jobs but now her office is a couple of blocks from my house so we're going to try to get together periodically to get stuff done!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A bit of greenery

Such a pain to make, but it really does help fill out the finished product. Hopefully, there will be a finished product to share with you soon!
Lots of greenery

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A little something old

In early May, I was up in Frederick, MD. I was originally supposed to run the half marathon with my friend but due to an incredibly hectic first part of the year, I wasn't able to train properly and ended up dropping down to the 5K. While my friend and I were there, we had a delicious dinner at VOLT and wandered through a couple of shops downtown. In one of the shops, I found an old vintage necklace. I don't really buy much jewelry these days but this one jumped out at me. I loved the colors and the beads were quite unique. Upon closer inspection, I think some of the beads may have been paper mache.

The problem with old things is that they break down. When I bought it, it was already missing a couple of beads on the inner strand. I knew that I was going to have to re-string it at some point. I didn't quite realize how soon. The second time I wore it, I was standing in my kitchen when one of the strands broke. I gathered as many of the beads as I could and threw everything into a plastic baggy. I had a feeling I could probably buy some Swarovski pearls to replace the missing beads. It turned out, I had some pearls on hand that would go well in the necklace. I was still missing a couple of separator beads but for where they would be sitting, I threw in a couple of seed beads, and you can't really tell the difference. I restrung the necklace as close to the original as possible and it still fits.

Vintage necklace, re - strung

Vintage necklace, re-strung

Vintage necklace, re - strung

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Emerald Crown Jewel

I find that when life gets to be incredibly busy and stressful at work, I find myself thinking more and more about the knitting and the beading, my creative outlets. In these projects, there's a start and a definitive end. In the world of software, it feels as if there's no end because there is always a bug to be fixed or a request to make a change.

I had this piece mostly finished before I moved and I was able to find some time to finish it up bit by bit and satisfy my need to make something with beads. The ball is Laura McCabe's Crown Jewel pattern and I added a little bale to hang it from a twisted ndebele robe. The toggle was also beaded.

Emerald Crown Jewel

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Because I've been busy moving

That's right, moving. I moved back to DC. I don't like the suburbs. I miss the city. My furniture is still in Virginia while the house is on the market so my living room looks like this
Because I've been busy moving

I wanted to be back in an urban setting and have a chance to walk and bike more. I also wanted a smaller space. I'm now in a 1200 square foot condo and it makes me happy. For now, I've been working on Lady Eleanor
Lady Eleanor progress
Because I know where this project and the extra skeins of yarn are and it's pretty mindless.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A floral painting

Floral "painting"

It's my floral "painting". I had taken the frame off of a 4'x3' bulletin board and stapled on black felt. That is a beaded magnolia and a three stems of beaded forsythia pinned to the board. This was the idea of a friend when she happened to see it when the board was just sitting on my coffee table and I had the magnolia sitting on it because I needed a place to set the magnolia. It's a great idea because it gives me something to do with the flowers but it can always be rearranged.

I'm thinking about making a few more stems of forsythia for the lower left hand corner and maybe adding in a couple of smaller magnolias and a couple of more branches of magnolia leaves? That should look okay, right? As long as I don't over crowd?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Wishing for spring?

I had recently gotten it into my head about creating a hydrangea arrangement. I already had these two guys and the vase sitting around the house:
Hydrangea, already had these parts

The last couple of weeks, I was hard at working making another white bloom so now I have this:
Hydrangea bits

I was hoping to get started on potting them but the Sculpey that I have has been around too long and has dried out. It resembles a big brick at this point. This is Donna Dickt's hydrangea pattern out of her book Designer Beadwork: French Beaded Designs. I need more greenery to fill this out.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow time adventures

So many factors came together last night to make the whole snow situation really awful. The snow came on fast and furious so that visibility was bad. It was cold. The roads weren't really treated or plowed. But for people trying to get home, the worst thing that could happen was probably that every one got on the roads AT THE SAME TIME.

Washington, DC rush hour spans 3-4 hours because we attempt to stagger our work schedules. But around 4, everyone realized it was time to get going, if they hadn't already done so. With everyone on the roads, the road conditions being as horrible as they were, people were having a horrible time driving.

It took me about an hour to get about 1 mile away from the office. At the rate I was going, I had a feeling I would end up getting stuck going uphill so I turned off on a side street and came back to the office. My boss was still here so we wandered out for some food. We wandered back and found some others were also still stuck here and were waiting for rides. Those rides came close to midnight. My boss ventured home around 1 in the morning. I slept under my desk. I didn't really feel up to attempting to drive home in the middle of the night. Anyways, there had also been some alcohol involved and I was still feeling a bit of the buzz so there was no way I was getting on the road in that condition (me and the road both).

It's morning now, the sun has come out, and it's still a beautiful snow covered white out

Morning After

Morning After

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Flowers of the Field

I said I would have something by the end of the weekend and here it is:
Flowers of the Field

This is Flowers of the Field by Melanie Potter. I bought the kit last year at BeadFest last year. It was a fun kit to work through and it definitely took a while. Finally when there was an end in sight, I just sat and beaded and got a bit of that mojo back. It's quite lovely! She sells her kits at her School of Beadwork website where you can also find some kits from Carol Wilcox Wells.

Now for something a little bit different
A little something green
I started that this afternoon while over beading at Donna DeAngelis Dickt's house. Donna is my mentor for the beaded flowers. We have all been taking a bit of a hiatus from the flowers and are slowly finding our way back. For anyone local, she may be starting up classes again soon and I told her I'd help spread the word.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


It's not so much a workspace any more as much as a storage space.

Bead room wall

That's one wall of the room. On the right, are my various seed beads. The Czech beads are in the drawers and the Japanese seed beeds are in the plastic containers. There are also gemstone beads and some focal beads in the plastic containers. To the left is all of my wire - stem wire (16 & 18 gauge), 26, 28, and 32 gauge copper wire. I have containers and floral tape in various colors.

Bead room other wall

Along this wall, is the bookshelf of books. There's also a table with more cabochons. The blue basket has all of my Swarovski crystals. Under the desk are various findings, wire, and random tool type things.

Once I got this stuff together, it didn't feel as if I had that much and found that I definitely had enough storage containers. At least it feels like a bit of a relief. My big project this year is to move into a smaller space. I think if I found the right armoire, I could fit all of this stuff in there.

Hopefully next week, I can post a picture of a finished beaded project. I have just a little bit more to go and I think I should be able to finish it up this weekend. For now, here's a little preview.

Flowers of the Fields - a preview

Sunday, January 02, 2011

New Year, new project, new goals

Hello 2011!

This sweater barely made it into 2010. I had 30 minutes to spare.

It's Idlewood (ravelry link). It fits nicely and it keeps me warm.

I'm slowly knitting through a couple of projects, both old and new as well as trying to de-clutter my house and get a move on with things.