Thursday, August 16, 2018

Paint Party Friday 8/17

Hi Everyone!

Here it is Paint Party Friday already. My life is so busy that days just fly by. I know, you have heard me say this before but it is true. LOL  Tonight I have a mix bag of art. The last is a portrait started in graphite and then finished up with charcoal. I have a lovely set of charcoal supplies and thought I should try it. It is not as easy as graphite, anyway in this first stage of learning. 
Any tips I will gladly accept. 

So first here is another piece for my exhibit. I have just under a month to get it all together. I still have to trim 
Nicole's BeadBacking off the sides. I use it to make a soft bottom on the wooden base.

I have been making yarn balls. Only I have used other materials like this one with Nicole's BeadBacking, (NBB). It was a bit tricky because NBB is a dense fabric. But it worked.
Start with a balloon paint it with glue water. Then dip strips of NBB into the glue water and place on balloon and allow to dry.

Repeat the process until you have what you like.

Now here is the portrait. Not one of my best but learning always produces some that I will look back on and say.... What was I thinking? LOL

Honor and integrity in art, in life.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Hi Everyone!

Everyday I eat an apple. I peal my apples, cut them in half and then core them. Yesterday I got to the cut-in-half part and found that the seeds in the core had germinated!!! Now I wasn't sure if I should have thought, "Ohhh this is cool" or " OMG! when was this apple picked and how long has it been in cold storage?" Apples are in cold storage 14 months and longer. Sooo I planted it. We will see how this turns out.

Honor and integrity in art, in life.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Hi Everyone!

Today I would like to introduce Tracey Levandoski a wonderful bead artists that honors me by using my Nicole's BeadBacking for the foundation of her beautiful beading.

My name is Tracey Levandoski. I live in Valparaiso, Indiana, with my husband of 30+ years, Jeffrey, and my dog of 14+ years, Bo. I work as a regulatory compliance auditor/consultant for the financial services industry – mostly banks, mortgage companies, and fintech lenders. I only do that to pay the bills though. That’s my professional photo. 


 My preferred method of spending time is beading. That’s (the real, unpolished) me trying to capture a photo of the collar that I finally finished in March 2017 after working on it sporadically for about two years. I never did get a good picture of it. It’s loosely based on Sherri Serafini’s Nicole Beaded Collar pattern, and it’s beaded on Nicole’s Bead Backing.

Like most beaders, I started crafting at a very young age – making potholders with the little square loom and those stretchy loops, knitting long tubes with the little knitting spool tool. I even remember learning how to make paper beads in bible school one summer. My paternal grandmother taught me to shuttle tat when I was around 8 years old, and my maternal grandmother taught me to crochet lace edging on pillowcases with a steel crochet hook at around the same time. Both grandmothers had giant quilt frames set up in their living rooms (you know – those big wooden contraptions that took up the whole room?), and everyone in the family (even my dad and uncles) worked on quilting those quilts while watching football on Sunday afternoons. My mom taught me to embroider on pillowcases (for the crocheted edgings, of course). Somewhere along the line, I taught myself to knit. When I was about 18, I happened upon counted cross stitch, and that became my craft of choice for the next 13 or so years. If you know anything about counted cross stitch, you know that a lot of pattern designers incorporate Mill Hill seed beads into their designs, and I have accumulated thousands of those beads!
I think it was sometime in 2005 that I ran across Bead and Button magazine while perusing the shelves of my local bookstore. As I flipped through it, all I could think was – wow, something else to do with all those beads – so I bought the magazine. I tried out all the bead stitches using my collection of Mill Hills: peyote, brick, right angle weave, herringbone. I was immediately hooked. I jumped in with both feet. Even though I was not very adept yet, I decided to take Laura McCabe’s three-day workshop at the Bead and Button show. I can’t remember if that was 2006 or 2007, but the project was her Infinity necklace. It was a lot of peyote geometric shapes and spiral rope with cylinder beads, bicones, and chaton stones, none of which I had prior experience using. I was in way over my head, but I think I eventually did all right. I still love the click of the cylinder beads in a geometric peyote pattern or bezel. Here is my finished Infinity necklace, designed by Laura McCabe and beaded by me.

Over the years, I took several more classes at the Bead and Button show, but they were all bead weaving. I started noticing bead embroidery projects a few years later and was curious about a class advertised at Funky Hannah’s in Racine, Wisconsin – Sherry Serafini was going to teach her Rockin’ Wavy Cuff, so I signed up. I should also back up and say that I purchased Jamie Cloud Eakin’s Beading with Cabochons book when it first came out in 2005. It was the first beading book I purchased before I even knew what beading really was. I knew nothing about bead embroidery at the time, but that book eventually found its place in my heart. After Sherry’s class and armed with Jamie’s book, I have been hooked on bead embroidery ever since. Here is my Rockin’ Wavy Cuff, designed by Sherry Serafini and beaded by me.

After Sherry’s Rockin’ Wavy Cuff class, I have taken many more of her classes, and I always learn something new to incorporate into my own designs. One of my favorite of her classes was titled Monster Bags, I think – don’t quote me on that. It was not a structured project with an expected outcome; instead Sherry gave us the initial idea which was to create a small handbag from the template she provided and using the purse frame she provided. From there, it was pretty much up to the students. Here is my finished product from that class.

In addition to learning TONS from Sherry, I have purchased many bead embroidery kits over the years from Ann Benson/Beads East and have learned a lot from those also – including incorporating sequins into my designs. One of my favorite Beads East kits has been this purse – I think it’s suitable for a wedding:


In 2015, on a fluke, I decided to participate in a bead challenge offered by Mandy Bugatti of Bead Circle. Mandy provided an assortment of beads, and the theme was ‘Fierce.’ Here is my entry:

It’s weird and completely out of my wheelhouse, but it was a challenge, so I went with it. If you want to read more about the challenge and my entry, here’s the link:

I don’t remember when or how I learned of Nicole’s Bead Backing, but I have bought a lot of it over the years. I think I have a lifetime supply in my stash right now. My first purchase from Nicole’s shop was some NBB and the blue lace agate stone that I used in this bracelet: 

This is necklace I stitched from another stone set that I bought from Nicole on Nicole's BeadBacking 

As I’ve become more skilled with my embroidery art, my beading friends have asked me to teach them. I created the following designs which I have taught to my bead group.


While visiting my local quilting shop last year, the ladies working there were taken with my jewelry – I don’t even remember what I was wearing that day now! But they asked to see more of my work. I brought back a box of stuff to show them, and they asked me to teach a class to their quilting group. This is the design I created for them – it is a simple piece of filigree with not a lot of beading and something that could be completed in an afternoon by someone with no beading knowledge

It was a big hit. They have asked me to come back and teach them my scissors case design shown above.
I almost always bead on NBB because I can match the color to my project, and it holds up very well to the punishment I give it as I wrangle my beads into place. Here are some other projects that I have created in the past year or so. I do a lot of playing and almost never have a finished piece in mind when I start. I have a basic idea but just freeform and see where it goes. Sometimes I like it; sometimes I don’t.
Here is another scissor case I designed. I call it ‘Starry Night’ because of the effect of the purple and crystal seed beads I used in the three-bead picots that cover most of the surface. The focal on the front is the focal component from the Deco Darling bracelet pattern by Laura McCabe.

This is just one of those balsa wood boxes you can buy at a craft store – covered in beads of course. I call it ‘Sherbet’ because it looks good enough to eat.

This is a project from a retreat I attended in San Diego with Jody Young and Betty Cox in 2016. It was a lot of fun. This is called ‘Shell Upon a Shell’ designed by Jody using her raised texture technique and beaded be me. (That’s my husband’s hand! 😊)


This is a piece I created using Jody’s raised texture technique. My husband found this huge piece of rose quartz in our yard when he was doing some landscaping, and I thought it would be perfect to showcase a beaded piece. It’s beaded on pink NBB (of course) and glued on to the quartz with E6000.

I had the basic ‘dripping’ heart shape in mind but not much else when I started this piece. It includes fish leather, shibori silk, sequins, crystals, and feathers – a true multi-media piece.

And finally, my favorite piece (so far) that I just completed in August 2018. I was inspired by Apollinariya Koprivnik and Teresa Gorecki to make this piece using purple flower jasper and a druzy I bought while in Sacramento working at a client for my ‘real’ job. I always try to find time to bead and/or shop for beads even while traveling for work. 

Thank you to Nicole for showcasing my work, and thank you to you for taking the time to look!
Honor and Integrity in Art in Life