Friday, November 26, 2010

Week Nine: Leslie Frazier

Our boxes get to stay in California for another week, this time at the home of Leslie Frazier, our ninth beader.  Leslie has developed some unique variations of off-loom bead-weaving techniques, including Twisted Ribbon Ndebele and 3-Dimensional Spiraling Ndebele, included in Carol Wilcox Wells’ book, The Art and Elegance of Beadweaving.  She is also well known for her innovative designs using pinch beads, aka three-sided oval beads.  Combining Ndebele stitch and peyote stitch led to the creation of several popular floral designs.  Recently her work was included in the Lark book, Masters: Beadweaving.  Her work can be seen on her website:,  and on Facebook: Leslie Frazier/Photos.

Here's what Leslie says about our project and her beading:   Thank you, Carol Dean Sharpe and Jennifer Van Benschoten for organizing The Best Little Bead Box!  I feel very lucky to have been chosen to take part, knowing it will result in a donation to such a worthy cause to help children, Beads of Courage.  And of course, I’m very excited to see the contents!

I’ve been beading off and on since childhood.  When I began learning beadweaving stitches in 1994, I found I couldn’t stop, and beading has continued to fascinate me like no other artistic endeavor.  I was lucky to study with inspiring teachers, Carol Wilcox Wells, NanC Meinhardt, and Robin Atkins early on, learning much more than beading from them.  Since 1996, I’ve had the great pleasure of teaching students throughout the United States, Japan and Canada.

I find beadwork extremely time-consuming, yet meditative and satisfying.  It's hard to say which I enjoy more, playing with beads and surprising myself with something new and beautiful, or watching what happens when the students in my classes combine my design or technique with their own perspectives and color palettes to fashion something with a whole new look.  Another reason I love teaching is the opportunity to be with so many people who feel the desire to create jewelry that is personal and made with pride, instead of being content with mass-produced items. 

It will be fun to see how Leslie adds to our boxes...and of course to see what she decides to keep for herself.


If you are interested in being one of the twelve beader for Round 2 of The Best Little Bead Box, please submit your application by December 1, 2010. Thank you.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Two Stuffed Boxes... Oh, Yeah!

How did this happen?  Last Thursday night I started taking pictures of what I planned on adding to the Best Little Bead Box(es), knowing that I had plenty of time before they arrived on my doorstep.  The next morning, while I was sipping my coffee and Niki dog was staring at the front door anxiously awaiting the daily mail drop, the door bell rang.   Niki went ballistic and I knew, I just KNEW that there would be a treasure chest sitting on the other side of that door.  Still in my jammies, no camera at hand, there was no chance for me to get a picture of the postal worker delivering the goods.  Oh well, here are the boxes sitting on a chair in my kitchen…

I had to wait until later in the evening before I tore into them.  This day job thing really kills me some times.  But first, we had to eat dinner.  The best little pizza box...  

I don’t remember the last time I wolfed down a pizza that quickly.  After I cleared off the table, I was practically drooling with anticipation when I made the first incision with the box cutter.  I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning – and the rest of the world ceased to exist.  I tackled the medium sized box first.  I had beads and bags strewn all over the table!

No, the salt and cayenne pepper did not come from the bead box.  After forever, it was time to put back the goodies that I decided not to keep and get into the large box.  So many beads!  I know I spent well over 2 hours going through all the bags, carefully choosing the items that I just couldn’t resist, and making a list of what I took.  I know this because every now and then I took a breather and commented on my “bead box” status on Facebook.  But after 2 hours, I lost track of time.

Here’s what I decided to keep for myself.  I’m trying not to feel guilty…

The first thing that I grabbed was a hank of seed beads in a glorious indigo color covered in crystal clear.  I might even use them tonight to embellish my latest felt vessel.  Then from a bag labeled Miscellaneous Focals & Buttons, I snagged a porcelain face.  I’m going to have to make a rather large vessel to keep that beauty afloat!  I took two other items from that bag – a clay connector that has a couple of figures on it that look like petroglyphs, and an Artisan Clay pendant in a color that just screamed at me.  Then there was a bag labeled gemstones with a bunch of amber in it.  I took one little piece that has some inclusions in it.  And then a little bag of gunmetal round beads.  Time to take a deep breath!

I grabbed three little silver Lucite leaves because I just cannot resist leaves!  Then, because every girl deserves a little bling, I took the Swarovski cosmic ring donated by Lynne in what looks to be Crystal Chili Pepper.  Hot cha cha cha…  Lynne also included a rectangular clay piece with a large hole in it by Elaine Ray that will look wonderful on one of my felted creations.  Back in the face department, I just had to have a few more – two of Laura’s cabs just jumped right into my lap!  Speaking of Laura, her ammonites were sooooooo tempting – but I left them for everyone else.

Coming down the finish line - I now have a little rainbow moonstone briolette from Glass Addictions, 2 pieces of black coral, and a Lisa Peters heart.  There were several pieces by Lisa Peters, and they are so hard to resist - but I only took the heart.

And now for the “give” portion of my give and take.  I had to get a replacement box at the post office - the medium flat rate box has morphed into a large flat rate box.

First, I added several porcelain beads.  Most are Chinese porcelain, but the little pink strand with the painted decals are from Greece.  I also added a bag of pinbacks – 20 gold-tone and 20 silver-tone.  Continuing in the metal department, I put in several stampings – leaves, winged beetles, filigrees, and a beadable stamping from the local bead store.  Surrounding the stampings is a strand of recycled glass beads from Africa.

In other glass news, I included a small bag of miscellaneous glass heart beads, some Indian glass beads (and 10 beads that I think are polymer - sorry, they're not glass...), a bag of small etched glass beads, a bag of vintage glass beads, and some artisan glass – a wild glass pendant from Carol Fonda and Monty Clark, a fused dichroic glass pendant, and a strand of 6 lampwork beads by Calvin Orr (I LOVE those beads!).

There had to be leaves – a bag of Lucite leaves in various colors.  And then on to the rocks… a birch jasper donut, a peach jade pendant, some red jasper star beads, green something-or-other V beads, with some mother of pearl “sticks” thrown in for good measure.  Then I added two small strands of rainbow fluorite in 2 different shapes, and a strand of faceted Botswana agate flat rectangles.  Finishing up the rocks are 12 petrified palm wood beads, 6 large Dalmation jasper beads, a strand of blue tiger eye, a gorgeous strand of silver leaf jasper beads from Elan, and a wonderful strand of golden agate beads, also from Elan.

And there you have it.  Oh wait… I almost forgot!  I also included some of my own lampwork beads.  :-)

Here’s a long bead, a medium sized cone bead, and 3 chunky focals.

Then there are 3 etched beads.  The one on the right sports a murini by Lori and Kim that I left shiny, and the one in the middle has capped bubbles that I left shiny as well.

Here’s an organic lentil bead, and then one of my selectively-etched floral inlay beads.

And last but not least, I included 4 of my leaf beads.

Phew!  The boxes are all packed up and ready to head out to the next stop on their country-wide trip.  Stay tuned for more updates on this wild, wild journey…

Friday, November 19, 2010

Week Eight: Shirley Cook

The Best (so totally NOT) Little Bead Box(ES!!!) is back on its way to California, to the home and studio of Shirley Cook, the eighth of our twelve beaders. You can keep up with this bead and fiber artist and her creations through her Jumping Jack Glass website and her blog.

Here's a little bit about her and her involvement in our project, in her own words:

I'm Shirley Cook, owner of Jumping Jack Glass - named after my jumping Jack Russell terrier Peanut. I got hooked on beads in 1996 when I learned how to make earrings by putting beads on this thing called a head pin and then making a loop at the top. Little did I know then where that lunch-hour class at the office would lead. After spending about 4 years haunting beads stores and shows, I took my first lampworking class and decided to trade in my fantasy of becoming a skydiving videographer for the torch. My husband is grateful to this day - maybe that's why he wanted to buy me a torch before I even thought about learning to melt glass. Over the years I've tried various beading techniques, learned a bit of wire and metal work, become hopelessly addicted to seed beads, and ventured into fiber art, but I am still enthralled with melting glass. When I was presented with the opportunity to participate in the "Bead Box" project, there was no way I could turn it down. I've been involved with the Beads of Courage program for several years and have even attended a "roll out" of the program in one of our local children's hospitals. I teach glass bead making classes on a regular basis, and donate all of my demo beads to Beads of Courage. It's a wonderful program that is near and dear to my heart. And then there's the opportunity to raid the bead box... how could anyone resist THAT?!

It will be fun to see exactly what Shirley decides to keep from the box and - more importantly, of course! - what she decides to add. We have it on good authority that she will be creating some beads for the occasion. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

So Many Beads ... Really, SO Many Beads

I knew the box was coming during a very busy time in my holiday show schedule, so I was a little afraid that I was not going to spend very much time with it. I fretted and anticipated as though looking forward to a great, but all too brief love affair. I learned that it was scheduled to arrive on either Monday or Tuesday, and began hopping up and down like a small child or a puppy that really needs to go outside. To my great surprise, it arrived early in the afternoon on Monday and I raced to the door to meet the mailman. I almost hugged him. I did ask if I could take a photo of him to commemorate the occasion, and he was so relieved that my vicious attack sheltie hadn't devoured him (she associates him with the UPS driver, and she HATES that guy) that he agreed.

With little pause to acknowledge my husband who had just entered the room (I guess), I dropped to the floor and tore into the boxes and settled in for a nice luxurious excavation. I raised my head (it was dark outside; go figure) and John informed me that I had been fully invested for over an HOUR. He said he'd been there the whole time and we'd conversed, but I have no such recollection. These were good boxes.

Okay, I'm going to start with what I removed. I tried my best not to be piggy, but it was HARD!!! I decided on two hanks and a tube of seed beads (duh), a sexy strand of freshwater pearls, a really cool Dzi-type glass focal bead from Kelli Burns, two shell rings, a bag of ball headpins, one of the bead pens, one of the smiley brass stampings (I was reallyreally hoping one would still be there and it WAS!), a let's-face-it,-really-HOT Lisa Peters swirly cabochon, some spotted dagger beads, and some Vintaj metal stampings. And that's all I need. ...and this paddle ball game.

It was all I could do not to also snag that cool cab that looked like pencils, but I left it for someone else. You're welcome.

And now for what I put in:
A bunch of polymer face cabochons, many of which are inset with Charlottes.

Some vintage German Cabs.
Some white vintage German glass beads and a couple of boxes of seed beads (because it would have been weird if I had included NO seed beads).
Some orange Swarovski and teal vintage Czech beads that I bought a LONG time ago because they were cool, but they have never really belonged in my color palate. I'm sure they will be in someone's color palate.
Some stone cabochons.
And because it was supposed to "hurt a little", I included some ammonite fossils. This caused me physical and emotional pain, and my hand kept shooting back in the box to remove them, but they DID make it.I had a great time with the boxes, which are growing in size at an alarming rate. I only hope that the final beader to receive them is strong enough physically (and emotionally) to deal with them.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

We are taking applications for Round Two!

Thanks to some very generous donors (which we will tell you about soon), we have a great start for The Best Little Bead Box - Round Two, which is schedule to start its journey right after New Year's. What we do not have yet is the most important part of our project - the twelve beaders!

The application for you to participate in Round Two is up on this blog. Just follow this link or visit the tab next to the "Home" tab above. Deadline to apply is midnight (Eastern Time) on December 1, 2010. We will announce the selected beaders on December 15, 2010.

We look forward to reading your applications! Thank you for supporting The Best Little Bead Box!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Week Seven: Laura Zeiner

Our one box morphed into two before it started its journey to our next beader - Laura Zeiner of Austin, Texas. You can find Laura's work in her Stick Lizard Designs Etsy store and you can keep up with her through her blog.

Here's a little bit more about her, in her own words:

My name is Laura Zeiner and my business name is Stick Lizard Designs (because ... it's really the only thing I can draw).  I've been beading for about ten years and I have a deep and passionate love for beads that are so teeny-tiny that most people don't believe they even exist.  I teach beading and live in Austin, Texas with my husband and two furry "assistants."  I'm really excited about this project because the proceeds are going to Beads of Courage and I hope the "fun factor" attracts beaders from all around the country. 

Rumor has it that Laura is spending the weekend at a bead show in Houston. She'll return to Austin for a very personal bead show in her own home - The Best Little Bead Box!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Bead Box Continues to Grow

As I watched the progress of the bead box over the last several weeks, I could not wait until it was my turn to receive the box and drool over all the goodies. I was not disappointed! The box arrived at my house on Monday, just as I was heading out the door to the gym. Needless to say, I never made it to the gym that day. The beads were just too irresistible.

I'll start with the goodies I got to pick out of the treasure box. There were many wonderful things to choose from but I tried to restrain myself. I chose some of the beautiful died ribbons (I love all things fabric), couldn't resist three Lisa Peters Art pieces, a small Anne Choi skeleton bead (I wanted one at Bead & Button but she was out), some daggers (love daggers!), Vintaj toggle clasp, two colors of Tila beads (I haven't tried these yet), a clay cab by Linda, a bead pen, and some gorgeous crystals I'm not sure what I'll do with. After laying everything I picked out, I realized almost everything was in the same color palette. I love the greens and browns!
Now for the goodies I added, which ended up being very eclectic. I started with some shell and wood pendants, plus one rose quartz pendant.
Then came a selection from my metal and filigree collection. I just love filigree, though I don't tend to use it often in my jewelry.

Next came a selection of new and vintage glass buttons. These are great for using as clasps.

Now onto some vintage glass cabs, some lampwork beads (turquoise bead is made by Lisa Daly and the long bead is by David Christensen), and two pairs of Murano glass beads.

Here are some freshwater pearls and a strand of vintage glass turquoise beads from Japan. The turquoise beads were found for me by my mother-in-law, who is an antiques dealer. Oh, the cool things she has discovered for me.

And then I finished off my additions with some bugle beads and packets of beading crimps in different sizes. I hope someone will enjoy using these items in their creations.

I'm heading off to the post office now. I will be dividing the box in two this time. Everything is just not fitting in the one box any longer. It's been so much fun taking part in this and can't wait to see what everyone else adds to the box. Take care!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Week Six: Kathy King

The Best Little Bead Box - if you can call a 16-pound box little! - is on its journey to  North Carolina, the home of Kathy King, our sixth beader. 

Kathy has been known for her exquisite beaded beads for some time. Her book,Bead Quilled Jewelry:: New Beadwork Designs with Square Stitch, published this year introduced the technique of bead quilling to the bead world.

Here is a little more about Kathy and her involvement with our project, in her own words:

I've been playing with beads for about 15 year now, and really became addicted after taking a bead weaving class in 1999. I particularly love designing beaded beads, bead embroidery and using the bead quilling technique to make unique jewelry pieces. I'm really excited to be taking part in this project. I'm looking forward to being able to pick out some wonderful beads to keep, plus having fun adding my own beads to the box. The fact that it is all for such a wonderful cause makes it extra special.

In less than a week, we'll see what Kathy decides to keep from the box and what she adds to it from her own stash. The "reveals" are always so much fun!

Friday, November 5, 2010

What happens in California doesn't always stay in California!

This post was written by Lynn and posted by Carol Dean. (Lynn wanted to stress that she is a beader, not a professional photographer.):

When The Best Little Bead Box arrived on my doorstep, I was ecstatic….ok, to be honest I was practically drooling, but rightfully so! The Box weighed in at 14 lbs. when it was delivered at my door, and I wondered if the overwhelming temptation I felt to open it immediately was similar to that of what Pandora experienced. Perhaps, but unlike Pandora’s Box, this Box was filled with nothing but pure rapture!

I went through each bag in the Box very carefully, but with the eagerness of a child. It was so much fun unwrapping everything, and before I knew it my table was covered with 14 lbs. of deliciousness. It was quite difficult to choose what I would take from the Box (and not be too greedy), so I made my selections carefully…I chose the things that captured my spirit.

I must say that it took enormous willpower on my part not to take all of Linda Roberts’ exquisite cabs and buttons. I am such a huge fan of Linda’s work, and I just had to have three of her dichroic cabs, one dichroic button, and one of her beautiful lizard cabs! Her work is so incredibly detailed, and I absolutely love her sense of color and design.

Next, it was on to Jennifer Cameron’s contributions and, once again, I found it challenging not to take too much. I chose a pretty wooden bead pen, a strand of labradorite chips, a little bag of Mykonos beads, some pretty green briolettes, and two sterling silver toggles.

Since I am a huge fan of Marianne Kasparian (aka MAK)’s work, I chose one of her gorgeous raku cabs, and found some colorful iris metal seed beads from The Bead Parlor to match. Thank you, Shelley Nybakke! I also chose a strand of Shelley’s black Picasso beads. They were simply delightful, and I couldn’t resist.

Last but not least, I chose three items from Marcia DeCoster’s contributions: a beautiful Swarovski cab, a small bag of tiny margaritas, and a strand of beautiful fire polished beads.

Now it was time to add to the box, and I wanted to make sure that I left it bigger and better than when it arrived. I added several strands of beautiful Czech daggers (copper, gold peacock, chartreuse peacock with matching rounds, and some smaller iris daggers). To match the iris daggers, I added two packets of gorgeously iridescent beetle wings which I purchased from Alice Darke.

Next, I added some discontinued and hard-to-find rhodium squares, along with some beautiful black peacock triangles. I threw in two packs each of matte metallic copper and metallic green iris Tila beads from the Hole Bead Shoppe. I also added two different colors of lentil beads, copper hex beads and triangles, as well as some pretty two-toned Czech glass leaves.

I am a huge fan of Lisa Peter’s work, and have collected a lot of her pieces. I wanted to add an assortment of her gorgeous artwork to the Box, and so I added about two dozen or so cabs, buttons, connectors, charms, as well as a focal bead.

And now it was time to add some serious bling! I contributed the following Swarovski beads, pendants, rivolis, and chatons:

Last, but not least, I added one of Anderson Coats’ beautiful glass-blown Lotus Pendants.

It was great fun participating in The Best Little Bead Box project!! The Box now weighs in at just over 16 lbs. It was challenging getting everything into one box, but somehow I made it work. And now, I am hopping into my car and am off to the post office to send the Box to the next lucky beader… Enjoy!!


P.S. -  I just realized that I also included five beautiful glass buttons, as well as two gemstone cabochons.  One of the cabs was a Stichtite in Altantisite freeform that I purchased from Sheila Hoag.