Monday, December 16, 2013

New Pattern: Serotonin and Dopamine Molecules

I've finished my final beading pattern of 2013, the Serotonin and Dopamine Beaded Molecules!

Beaded Chemistry!

This pattern describes how to make weave the beaded skeletal chemical structures of two molecules important to brain chemistry: serotonin and dopamine. Like the Morning Coffee Molecules pattern, this design uses 8°, 11°, and 15° seed beads for a simple approach to creating beaded representations of molecules. The resulting beadwork is flat and self-supporting, and I included instructions in the pattern on how to use an acrylic floor finish to stiffen up the finished beadwork. These beaded molecules can be attached to jump rings for individual pendants, or they can be strung together in a larger piece.

Neurotransmitters: Brain Molecules

As I previously mentioned on this blog, serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters; molecules that carry messages from one cell to another in the nervous system. Serotonin is associated with feelings of happiness and well-being, and regulates mood, appetite, and sleep. Many antidepressant medications aim to increase serotonin levels in the brain. Dopamine is part of the reward system of the brain, and it's the molecule responsible for the happy feeling after a rewarding experience.

Here are both molecules in CPK colors, a standard coloring system used in the sciences to color-code each atom in a molecule.

Lacy Molecule Necklaces

In addition to individual pendants, the serotonin and dopamine beaded molecules can connect together for fancy, lacy necklaces. You might remember this gold and pink necklace from a few months ago:

More recently, I also wove this purple and green necklace using two beaded serotonin molecules, and three beaded dopamine molecules. I wove one of each molecule in its mirror image to make the necklace look more symmetrical, and I explained how to do this in the pattern too. A 17 mm Swarovski briolette drop crystal adds a final touch to this piece. I love the lacy look of this necklace, and it has the most comfortable drape!

The Serotonin and Dopamine Molecules Beading Pattern is available exclusively at Kits for this design will be available in the new year.

In the meantime, I'll be traveling internationally during this holiday season, so I will not be shipping beading kits between December 19 and January 5. Patterns can still be purchased and downloaded, however all kits ordered during this time will ship on January 6. 

Have a very warm and Happy Holiday Season!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New Pattern and Kits: Annular O Necklace

My third O bead design of this year weaves these little ring-shaped beads into bezeled rivoli crystal components, and into a custom, matching beaded chain in my Annular O Necklace.

Four Bezeled RivOli Crystals

This necklace features an intricate focal woven from four connected rivoli crystals, bezeled with seed beads, round beads, and shaped seed beads using a unique method that somewhat resembles circular MRAW. If you've ever woven my Rivoli Kaleidoscope or Tropical Dahlia pendants, this bezeling method may seem familiar, as it starts off with similar (but easier!) thread path. The O beads in each beaded crystal component, however, came together in a delightfully surprising way to both support the attached bicone crystals, and to echo the circle shape of each component.

A Custom Beaded Chain

The necklace is finished with a simple, delicate beaded chain, again featuring O beads and just two sizes of Japanese seed beads. It works up very quickly, and since it can go with a wide variety of beaded pendants, I'll definitely be using this O-chain idea in future designs.

Three Kinds of Swarovski Crystals

The completed necklace is finished with a Swarovski briolette crystal to complement the bicone and rivoli crystals in each component. A final small rivoli component (not shown) serves as a matching toggle clasp.

The Annular O Necklace pattern is available exclusively at, and beading kits for this design are available in the three colorways shown above. Each kit contains all the beads needed to make the complete necklace!

Thanks for looking!

Monday, December 9, 2013

New Pattern and Kits: Magic O Ball

For my second O bead pattern, I turned back to my roots in 3D geometric beadwork, and developed the Magic O Ball.

A dOdecahedron Beaded Bead

This large beaded bead is in the shape of a dodecahedron, a polyhedron with 12 sides, each in the shape of a pentagon. It's the same structure that I used in the Tila Garden Pendant and the Wildflower Fields Pendant, however it's also hollow, like the Fiberoptic Dodecahedron. It's my largest dodecahedron design yet, measuring about 34 mm in diameter!

O Beads + Chaton Crystals

The Magic O Ball features two different colors and orientations of O beads, along with 12 sparkly Swarovski chaton crystals. The crystals, oddly enough, came about after I completed the first prototype of this design. The prototype had just enough space for an 8 mm crystal on each side of the beaded bead, and an 8 mm rivoli didn't work, however an 8 mm chaton crystal turned out to be the perfect fit!

A Sparkly Pendant!

I like to wear this design as a pendant, so I included instructions on how to weave a bail using modified right angle weave (MRAW). Since the design is hollow on the inside, you can include a special something in the middle such as a rattle bead. The green Magic O Ball above encloses a little jingle bell! 

The Magic O Ball pattern is available exclusively at, and beading kits for this design are available in the three colorways shown above. Each kit contains all the beads needed to make one beaded bead!

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

New Pattern and Kits: Lucky O Bracelet

The patterns and kits for my new O bead designs are now available on my website! Over the next couple days I'll talk about each of them here on the blog. First up is the Lucky O Bracelet:

O Beads + Bugle Beads

This bracelet features two different colors of O beads in two different orientations: edge-on, and face-up. I wanted to contrast the round, smooth O shape with something angular, so I used several Japanese bugle and triangle beads on the back of each component.

Connected Snowflake Components

The finished bracelet is made up of nine connected components that look like little snowflakes. There are tons of possibilities for other jewelry items from these components, such as earrings, charms, or rings!

Custom Matching Clasp

The beading pattern for this bracelet includes instructions on how to make a matching beaded toggle clasp, with more O beads and bugle beads, for a seamless look to this beaded bracelet.

Three Kit Colorways!

This O bead pattern is available exclusively at, and beading kits for this design are available in the three colorways shown above. Each kit contains all the beads needed to make one bracelet!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

O Beads!

I've been working on a set of secret beading projects for the past few months, and I'm very excited to talk about them on the blog today!

A New Bead Shape!

All three projects utilize a brand new bead shape, the O bead! This little glass bead is in the shape of its namesake, measuring about 4 mm in diameter with a relatively big 1.5 mm hole. But it's very thin - only about 1 mm wide, so it can be readily used as a glass sequin! 

Can you spot the O beads in the bracelet below?

They also make great spacers, especially between crystals and other beads. This property came in quite handy in this crystal necklace (which I've taken to wearing quite frequently as of late!)

The O beads are made by the same folks who brought us the Rizo and SuperDuo beads, so they come in some similar, gorgeous colors. I fell in love with the shiny purple finish on the O beads in this beaded bead:

When used in the off-loom types of beadwork that I specialize in, the O beads present an interesting design challenge because their large holes allow for a lot of movement in the surrounding beads. But this is a useful and convenient feature for designs with high bead density, as it provides more space to pass your needle through the bead.

O beads will be available for purchase worldwide on December 1. Patterns and kits for these designs are coming soon!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sakura Necklaces for Every Season

I finished a total of four colorways for my Sakura Bouquet Necklace, one for each season! I played with the arrangements of the individual flower charms for each piece, so each one is strung somewhat differently. Which one is your favorite?

Bronze and Copper for Fall

Purple and Silver for Winter

Pink for Spring

Dark Red for Summer

(though now that I think about it, the dark red colorway would work very well for winter too!)

There are a few seats left for this class at the BABE! Show next month, but online registration closes on Saturday! Please visit the BABE! website for more information.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Multicolored Wildflower Fields Beaded Bead

I wove a Wildflower Fields beaded bead using six different colors for the flowers.

I describe this color distribution in the Tila Garden Pendant pattern, where each color of flower is next to a flower of a different color. I tried to use the same colors that I used for the original Tila Garden Pendant, but since the Wildflower Fields design uses additional peanut-shaped beads, it ended up a little more colorful.

I think both of them would look great in the same piece together... Perhaps at the ends of a lariat or other long, drape-y necklace. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

2014 Bead & Button Show Classes

It's my pleasure to announce that I'm teaching seven classes (!) at the 2014 Bead &Button Show next June. The show jury accepted five of my new proposals, and two classes that I taught last year as well. When I was submitting these classes for review, I noticed that these projects fall into three general themes: geometry, botany (with an emphasis on flowers), and chemistry, so I figured that would be a good way to cover them in this post.


First up in the geometry category is the Rizo Triangles Necklace. This is an expanded version of the class that I'm currently teaching at The Beading Bar this week. In this 7-hour workshop, you will learn how to create three different beaded triangular components, along with a matching triangular-themed beaded rope. Rizo beads and SuperDuo beads give a ton of dimensionality to these components, which can also be incorporated into any number of matching earrings, bracelets, or pendants. Personally, I love how I feel like royalty when I wear this piece!

Next up is the Oscillations Pendant, which features three different circular beaded components arranged in a cascading pendant, and finished with a teardrop-shaped Swarovski crystal. It's hard to see in the photo, but the components are very dimensional, and give a shadowbox effect to the little flowers nested within. A spiral rope finishes the pendant, however it can be strung on any kind of beaded rope, cord, or chain. It's a fun design to construct and wear, as you get the feeling of looking into a special place in each component.


In the Botany category, we start off with the Tila Garden Pendant, a class that has sold out at the previous two Bead & Button shows. Above is the newest version with the very colorful rizo beads. It's a challenging design to weave, but my students have told me that they feel so very accomplished when it's complete (that's certainly how I felt the first time I came up with it!)

Next is the Sakura Bouquet Necklace, which I'm also teaching at BABE! this November. This piece features four different varieties of the cherry blossom flower, all incorporated into a cascading necklace. The individual blossoms can be used in a variety of other types and arrangements of jewelry, as I've discussed on this blog before. I'm currently working on other colorways for this project, and I also came up with a fifth beaded sakura variety which I may be able to incorporate into this class too!

Last in the botany category is the Raindrop Flower Necklace, which features a beaded focal pendant and three different kinds of matching beaded beads woven from teardrop-shaped glass beads and seed beads. I like this design because the beaded beads can be adapted into earrings, and the focal can also serve as a solo pendant.


The last two projects utilize the beaded molecule technique that I developed for my Endorphin Necklace. The first of these two projects is the Brain Chemistry Earrings, which feature a molecule called, γ-Aminobutyric acid, or GABA. This molecule is very important to brain function, and has a calming effect on brain cells. This 3-hour class makes for a nice introductory project to the world of beaded molecules, and give off tons of sparkle for a fun, fancy way to show off beaded chemistry!

The last project is the Red Wine Chemistry necklace, which also uses the beaded molecule technique to create several beaded molecules found in red wine. These molecules are connected together with silver jump rings for this fancy necklace, which is decorated with little grape beads for that extra enology touch. In truth, for this project I chose a set of molecules found in most alcoholic beverages, so if you're not into red wine, this piece can be worked up in different colors and styles to represent your favorite cocktail. Both beaded molecules classes include a mini chemistry lesson which will explain how the techniques learned in this class can be applied to an infinite number of molecular structures.

The 2014 Bead & Button Show will take place in Milwaukee, WI from May 28-June 9, and class registration will begin online on January 7. It's the biggest bead show in the country and it's a whole lot of fun each year! I'd love to see you there!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Wild Forget-Me-Nots Set

Now that my newest beading pattern is complete, I thought I'd talk about an (almost) complete set of the different kinds of jewelry that you can make with this Wildflower Fields pattern. All of the pieces in this set are in the light blue Forget-Me-Not colorway, which is one of the colorways for this design that's available as a kit.

A Pair of Charm Earrings

The first piece that this pattern teaches you how to make is the basic Wildflower Fields charm, which uses a variation of the circular peyote stitch. This self-supporting charm includes an 8° seed bead at the top, so you can easily attach it to a jump ring. Two of them make for a pair of hanging earrings.

The great thing about this charm is that the beads on the back balance out those on the front, so the resulting earrings are balanced; they don't lean forward, rather they hang straight, facing the viewer.

A Pair of Post Earrings

The second piece in this set is the pair of post earrings. I was very excited about this part of the set, as I had never engineered a pair of beaded post earrings before! They're really easy to make and quick to work up, so you can easily make a different pair for each day of the week. The ear post is bezeled into the middle of the flower, so no glue is needed!

I used stainless steel posts for this particular pair of earrings, but I included sterling silver posts in the kits to minimize any potential metal allergy issues (though apparently, titanium ear posts are the best for metal allergies - is this true?)

A Matching Topiary Ball Pendant

The cornerstone piece of this set is the pendant, which looks like a beaded topiary ball. The pendant is what puts this pattern into the "advanced" category, as it is built from a net of seed beads over a round core bead, using the geometry of a dodecahedron. The thread path of this net is a little counter-intuitive, although I included many illustrations in the pattern to explain it properly. If you've ever had the chance to make the Tila Garden Pendant, this design will be quite familiar.

The core bead in this pendant can be made of any material, however this particular pendant uses a plastic core bead, so it's very light! I think it would also look great as a focal bead in a more elaborative necklace... What do you think?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

My First Attempts at Crystal Clay

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a talk and class at my local bead society by the very talented beading artist Nikia Angel. Her talk was called "Steal Like an Artist," a title sure to grab your attention, but the actual talk was not about stealing per se, but about the different ways an artist will get their ideas and express them in their art. Based on a concept by Austin Kleon, it was a fantastic talk that will be referring to quite often in the future.

Nikia's class was on crystal clay, and it was the first time that I had tried anything in this medium. It was a really fun class, as each student was given several options of which settings, clay, and crystals to use, and several examples for inspiration. However, the class was focused on learning and playing in the medium, so each student's pieces were different from their neighbor's work. I completed two cabochons and one pendant in class:

For my first crystal clay piece, I tried to take an asymmetric, semi-random approach with a collection of mostly round Swarovski crystals, in clear AB, greens, and purples, all with a silver clay background:

For my second piece, which became my favorite of the three, I used a quintet of delightful little fans, and surrounded them with additional crystals to make a pendant. I added a bunch of tiny little silver craft beads in between the crystals, which gave the piece a really neat texture!

I used these beads again on my final piece, a nice little cab featuring several round crystals, again in purple and green.

It was an interesting experience to take this class; the medium is definitely outside of my usual element of precision beadwork, but I was very grateful for the opportunity to experiment in something different. Nikia is a fantastic teacher; she's patient, knowledgable, and very generous with her advice. She has my full recommendation!

Have you ever taken a class outside of your usual medium? How did you like it?

Friday, September 27, 2013

New Pattern and Kits: Wildflower Fields Set

My newest beading pattern, the Wildflower Fields Set, is now available at! This all-seed bead design features a collection of seed beads, including shaped seed beads such as drop beads and peanut beads, which all combine together to make a cute flower charm that can make earrings, a bracelet, or a beautiful pendant!

A Beaded Topiary Ball Pendant

The cornerstone piece of this set is the pendant, which measures about 28 mm in diameter and can also serve as a large beaded bead. The pendant is in the geometry of a dodecahedron, with twelve little flowers spread out evenly around the piece.

A Twisting Bracelet

Several individual wildflower motifs can be beaded together to form a petite little bracelet:

Post Earrings

In this pattern, I also describe how to create post earrings out of a pair of wildflower components. The ear post for each earring is incorporated into the middle of each beaded flower, which secures it in place much like a beaded bezel on a rivoli crystal. No glue required!

The complete Wildflower Fields pattern is appropriate for Advanced beaders, as the thread path of the pendant is a little tricky. However, Advanced Beginner beaders who are comfortable working with size 15° seed beads should be able to complete the charm and earrings, and, when ready, move on to the bracelet and the pendant.

Kits in Three Colorways

Kits for this design are available in three colorways: Pink Blossoms, Lavender, and Forget-Me-Not. Each kit contains all the beads and thread needed to make one pendant, one bracelet, two charms, and one pair of stud earrings!

The beading pattern and kits for the Wildflower Fields Set is available exclusively at!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cosmic Windows Pendant

In my last post about beaded cherry blossoms, I mentioned the idea of using component design to arrange several smaller beaded components into many different types of jewelry. I've continued this concept in my newest piece, this Cosmic Windows Pendant:

A Pendant of Windows

This piece features a total of six Cosmic Windows components, arranged in a tetrahedral geometry with one component on each of the six edges of the tetrahedron. This 3D arrangement gives the pendant a great deal of depth and dimensionality that photos can't entirely capture. Here it is on its edge on a jewelry bust:

The main tetrahedral body of the pendant is about an inch and a half in diameter; on the big side for a beaded bead, but not quite too big for a beaded pendant.

A Variation on a Bracelet

The Cosmic Windows design originally started as a bracelet, featuring six linked components woven with Miyuki tila beads and seed beads, which come together to frame the irregular cosmic Swarovski crystals that give the piece its name. Here's a photo of this bracelet in its original antique colorway:

With a little bit of beaded fringe and a bail for an ear wire, the Cosmic Windows components also make fancy matching earrings:

I used the same silver and blue colorway for this pendant:

Dimension and Symmetry

Each component in the pendant is joined together at the corners of the tetrahedron with additional briolette crystals and Japanese seed beads. It took a few attempts to get it to hold its shape, but I was surprised at how I didn't need that many additional beads to join the components together (it did, however, require many passes of thread!) A beaded bail and a bunch of beaded fringe finish the pendant.

I'm thinking that it would also make a very fancy Christmas ornament too!

The original Cosmic Windows beading pattern and kits are available at If you're interested in learning how to make this variation from the original pattern, drop me a line!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Purple Sakura Charms and Possible Arrangements

I came up with a new colorway for the Sakura Bouquet Necklace, which I'm teaching at the BABE! Show this November.

Purple and Silver Sakura Charms

Four different shades of purple combine with silver to form this colorway. The four different beads used for the cherry blossom petals also have a variety of finishes, ranging from transparent, to luster, to the "magic" finish on the rizo beads.

It's still monochromatic, but it has more color variety compared to the original version.

Four Different Varieties of Sakura

The set features four different charms corresponding to four different varieties of sakura, and each is woven in a slightly different way.

Forty Sakura Charms

Each class kit will include the materials to make a total of 40 charms. This is actually more charms than I used in the original necklace, so students will be able to make about a dozen extra charms. Here's a complete set of all 40 of them:

Many Possible Arrangements

The great thing about these little flowers is that they're adaptable to so many different kinds of jewelry. They fit neatly into the concept of component design, which is where you weave several beaded components and then combine them together as you're designing the finished piece. While it won't be the focus of my class, it's a concept that advanced beaders may want to approach with these charms after taking the class.

I took a little time to explore this concept myself with this set. I've already turned two of them into a pair of earrings:

But a small handful of them could make a nice little pendant:

Repeating just two of the charms makes a simple, yet very pretty choker-length necklace:

While just under 20 of them could make a Y-shaped necklace:

Another idea is to take an asymmetric approach, and fill the other half of the necklace with a beaded rope or chain:

Finally, all 40 charms together would make a very nice necklace indeed:

Please visit the BABE! website for more information on this class, including how to register. One session is already sold out, so act soon to reserve your seat!
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