The Word Project

word project

How choosing a Word-of-the-Year changed my life.

Christine Kane’s Word of the Year Discovery Tool was like gasoline on the fire of my creative heart. It started 3 years ago when I beaded a simple word on a pen: Emerge. I started allowing myself and my work be seen, and tried show more of my goofy self on the podcast and edit myself less. Two years I ago, I managed to cram all the letters together to spell Completion. My goal was to finish more things instead of focusing on the outcome of the thing. The biggest completion was my application to teach at Bead & Button. Just sending it would make me proud. It was a bonus that I was accepted!

Danielle Laporte’s Desire Map fanned the flames of my fire. You start with how you want to feel, because the only reason we want certain things is so we can feel a certain way- so why not start with that? As someone who takes life so seriously, I chose the word Joy. If you listened to my updates at the beginning of the podcast, you know this summer was packed with bead trips, laughter, and friends. I truly experienced Joy.

As the summer faded into fall, I knew it was time to change my word again- to TRUST. To trust myself and my ideas, and to act on them promptly and instead of waiting for the perfect time or circumstances. The Word Project is one of those ideas!

What is The Word Project?

The Word Project is a community beading and intention project. I invite you to share your word, make a pen to bring your word to life, and send me a photo. I will be making a music video of all the photos of completed pens I receive by January 15, 2014. Extra Credit- If you have a blog and choose to write a post sharing your word and declaring your intentions, send me a link and I will share those here as well!

Why a pen?

I put my word on a pen at the start of every year for two reasons. 1. When I spend that much time beading a pen, I know my word was thought out, and specifically chosen. No waffling on it could be this or maybe that. 2. I am reminded of my word on a daily basis every time I write in my journal, take notes, or make the grocery list.

What will I get out of participating?

We could start with the obvious things like clarity and focus, improving bead skills, making a cool beaded pen, and some blog post traffic, sharing with and supporting others in the bead community. But there’s definitely more to this.

Setting an intention in this way is very powerful. Emblazoning your word on something you can use everyday? Well that’s intention on steroids. Its one thing to think “I’d like to lose a couple pounds,” and quite another to meditate on the word Health while creating a beaded pen. Then, to have it bang around in your purse or pen jar at work as a constant reminder of something you want. How would your life be different if you allowed your word to float in the top of your mind as you go through your day? Could be small things, could be big things, could be the smallest shift is the biggest shift. In the case of Health, you may find yourself choosing the salad and dance walking through parking lots.

Why does Word of the Year work and resolutions don’t?

First, because it’s simple. It’s one word and there are small things you can choose every day that are easy to do and easy not to do. Your word is something you want to embrace: Health, Love, Delight, Gratitude, Freedom, Grace, Laughter, Clarity, Yes, No, Savor, Order, Listen, Peace. It’s a goal with a soul, not something big and scary and filled with negative energy like “finally get organized” or “lose 20 pounds.”

How do I participate?

For instructions on creating a beaded pen, click here to sign up for the newsletter and get my free Beaded Pens eBook. There is a peyote alphabet, and printable chart so you can graph out your word.

To be included in the music video, email a photo of your completed pen to by January 15, 2014. To have your blog post listed, email me your link anytime.

I love this concept! What if I’m not a beader?

I would be honored to create a pen for you. Choose from the pens in my Etsy shop, or order a custom pen and choose your Word and your colors. You are are also welcome to submit a blog post.

Inspiration from others on Word of the Year:

(this is a place holder for the blog post links)


BCP 18 | Chic Beading with Amy Katz

amy_katzAmy Katz has been part of the world of seed beads since 1993 as a student, teacher and designer. All her life she has had a love of quality jewelry. Several years ago when she began designing her own pieces from scratch, Amy made the decision to make the fine jewelry look her own using seed beads and crystals. Using imagination and top-notch materials, this high-end style has come to life as her signature style. Amy is currently teaching both locally in northern Virginia and nationally. Her work has been featured in the books Beading Across America, and Beading All-Stars.

In my interview with Amy, we discuss how she developed her fine jewelry style of beading, her retreat that combines mining with beading classes, and all about her new book titled, Seed Bead Chic: 25 elegant projects inspired by fine jewelry. I hope you enjoy the interview.

Heart's Desire designed by Amy Katz

Heart's Desire designed by Amy Katz

Show Notes

More listening options:

Want to win an autographed copy of Seed Bead Chic? Imagine that a limousine in pulling up to the curb to chauffeur you and some friends to an Art Gala. Picture yourself wearing the perfect, made for you designer dress! With that in mind go to Amy’s website and choose the perfect piece of jewelry among Amy’s workshops and kits that would go with your look. Then, leave a comment on this post describing your dress and the name of the piece you chose.
I think this is a really fun exercise and Amy and I are excited to read your comments. Be sure to enter your email address, and I will choose a winner next week.


Butterfly Exhibition Challenge Reveal

It started with an idea for an exhibition challenge- no voting, no winners, no prizes. I wanted us to celebrate creativity and beading as an art form. Participants must use something from the kit in their beadwork and incorporate beadweaving techniques.

I threw down the butterfly challenge inspired by their Herculean type strength that allows for their complete transformation…


and put together the kits..


Now it’s time for the Big Reveal! Click the pictures for a closer look.

Lynn Lytle
Katy, Texas

Many years ago my mom started beading peyote bracelets after she broke her ankle and could no longer square dance. I has made numerous macramé bracelets with beads in my youth and had taken a course from Sitting Bull’s great granddaughter learning how to bead with quills a very long time ago! When my mom moved to Texas after my dad died, we had plans to explore the world of beaded dolls together. Unfortunately, she passed away soon after and I became the owner of her extensive bead collection, and somehow, I got where I am today!


I am a member of the Houston Bead Society and find my strengths are in free form bead embroidery since I’m not much of a jewelry wearer. Lately I have been exploring mixed media assemblages, but when I saw this challenge, I knew it was time to bead again!


Having 2 teenage daughter doesn’t leave me much time in the summer, so I took the challenge quite literally. I included the quote Mandi provided – printed on vellum – and used only the beads provided (except for the caterpillar’s legs and head and the blue sparkly bead on top of a toadstool), adding only the flower, wire, empty spools, glass bottle and mirror. I really am happy with the end result and it looks amazing sitting on my window ledge. Thanks for the opportunity to participate. I hope my butterflies carry their message of hope to everyone who sees them.


Amy Royster
Roselle, Illinois

After last year’s challenge, I could not wait to see what Mandi came up with this year. FLUTTERBYS!!! YAY!!!

For some reason, when I started thinking about this challenge, I thought of how butterflies gracefully land on flowers to drink the nectar, and this led me to wanting flowers around my neck to attract the butterflies to me.


Here in the Midwest, the trees are beginning to turn, the wind is getting nippy, and the skies are withering to gray (YUK!), so I wanted bright colors for my flowers, to entice my butterflies out of their cocoons for just a little longer….

I present to you the BLOSSOM PATCH. A simple spiral rope with beaded flowers attached. The clasp is a bezeled fabric cabochon that with a snap sewn on the back.


Cheryl Norwood
Lake Jackson, Texas

I named it the Birth Of The Butterfly. The little white spots on the leaf are caterpillar eggs, then you have the cocoon hanging from the branch, and the new butterfly that has hatched out on the limb.


Sue Charette-Hood
San Antonio, Texas

Inspired by the love of Super Duos, and wanting to create a “home” for the little polymer butterfly.


Gillian Utting
Gosport, United Kingdom

That butterfly made me jump higher than I have leapt before. What a clever and crazy idea.


Katherine Kosta
Denver, CO


When I received the kit, I immediately knew I wanted to create a bead embroidered butterfly. After doing a little research, I decided that it would be an abstract representation of a butterfly on a flower. The cuff itself is 2 ½ inches at its widest part. I’ve used clear snaps as the closure.


What’s next?
Thank you to all the participants of this project. Your ideas have blown me away, and I have enjoyed watching your creativity expand!

I want that for more people, so there will be 20 kits for the next challenge, I will allow more time for shipping to other countries, and more time to complete your project (2 months).

The next challenge will be launched February with a theme of “Fierce!” Animal print daggers, anyone?


BCP 17 | Bead On with Laura Zeiner

Laura Zeiner has been beading and teaching beadwork for about twelve years and has a passion for putting a contemporary spin on traditional stitches. Nature is a constant theme in her beading and she loves to incorporate uncommon objects and “old things” into her work. She travels around selling her work at various bead& art shows, sometimes up to 15 in a year. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, John, and Ginger, her spoiled-rotten sheltie. In her “spare time”, she can usually be found training for triathlons or playing poker.


In my interview with Laura, we discuss how she developed her freeform style, her advice for newbies just starting show their work, and her participation in Battle of the Beadsmith with a little topless photography thrown in. I hope you enjoy the interview!

Crap I Found In the Road

Laura's Battle piece entitled, Crap I Found In the Road

Show Notes

Enchanted Evenings Bracelet by Laura Zeiner

Enchanted Evenings Bracelet by Laura Zeiner, available as a tutorial, skulls optional

More listening options:

Want to win a Freeform Peyote Bracelet Tutorial from Laura? All you have to do is leave a comment below about anything you learned from the show. Be sure to include your email address and I will choose a winner next week. Update: Congrats to Ksenia! She won the tutorial from Laura!

Freeform Necklace with Elk Antler by Laura Zeiner

Freeform Necklace with Elk Antler by Laura Zeiner


BCP 16 | Bead Origami with Cindy Holsclaw

CHolsclawCindy Holsclaw is a bead artist and a scientist specializing in beaded art inspired by geometry, chemistry, and biology. Her fascination with new and interesting beading structures permeates her jewelry designs. Cindy’s strong foundation as an academic shapes her writing skills, and she enjoys teaching beadweaving classes across the country. She is an attentive and patient instructor during class, and her beading patterns are fully illustrated and complete with troubleshooting tips and design variations.

In my interview with Cindy, we discuss how molecules & origami became Cindy’s go to inspirations, as well as some tips to help you hone your geometric beady skills.

Enjoy the interview!


Show Notes

Tila Garden Pendant by Cindy Holsclaw

Tila Garden Pendant by Cindy Holsclaw

More listening options:

Want to win a pattern from Cindy? All you have to do is leave a comment below answering this question: Do you have a freeform brain or a geometric brain? Be sure to include your email address and I will randomly select the winner next week. Update: The winner is…Lisa Ballowe! Thanks to all who participated in this discussion, you left some very insightful comments!


Butterfly Exhibition Challenge

My Butterfly Exhibition Challenge Kits are now available!
(Open to 10 participants).


Every time my eyes dance across that quote, I am struck by the potential it reveals. Of what could be forged by myself and anyone reading this. And that our trials ask us to access the Herculean type strength we were born with to morph into a better version of ourselves.

I chose butterflies as the inspiration for this challenge for that reason.

That and they’re pretty ;)

And I have a butterfly with the face of a tiger in its wings tattooed on my back.


What’s an Exhibition Challenge?

Well, I made it up. I wanted to create a safe space for creative expression with beads- no voting, no winners, no prizes. We will celebrate creativity and beading as an art form, and I am excited to promote you and your work! This is the second Exhibition Challenge, and I invite you to check out the stunners from last year’s Ocean-themed challenge.

There are only 10 kits available. Participants must use something from the kit in their beadwork and incorporate beadweaving techniques. Beads from your stash can be included. I will be showcasing each piece on along with the artist’s name, story of their piece, and website. Photos of your piece must be submitted by September 15, 2014 to be included in the big reveal exhibition.

Click here to grab your kit!

Ideas for using the inspiration

You can interpret the theme literally or not. You can get ideas from the quote, from the movement of a butterfly, a memory they remind you of, even something the queen of butterflies might wear. Think of words that you associate with butterflies, and create a piece that reflects those words: whimsical, free, transformation, metamorphosis, ballerinas of the animal kingdom, serene, graceful, energy, and ease.

Most importantly, stretch, play, and have fun!


Kit contents:

Small Fabric Cabochon- purple with glitter
Medium Fabric Cabochon- turquoise swirls
4 grams Two-hole Triangles- Matte Turquoise
30 4mm Czech Pearls- Dark Purple
17 Swarovski 4mm bicones- Indicolite
10 grams 11/0 seed beads Aqua Color Lined Neon Green
10 grams 11/0 seed beads Capri Color Lined Purple
10 grams 11/0 seed beads Capri Color Lined Metallic Teal
polymer clay butterfly charm
metal butterfly charm

I’m really excited about offering a different type of challenge and to promote other bead artists and their work. Please message me if you have any questions, and I’m looking forward to seeing your creations!

Peace & Love,

P.S. If you’re scared of challenges, this is for you because its a laid back,
supportive & encouraging space. If you love a challenge, this is for you because
we all want to see how far you’ll push it. Either way, grab a kit before they’re

P.P.S. Photos of your piece must be submitted to mandibeads [!at] gmail. com
by September 15, 2014 be included in the big reveal exhibition.


Crash & Bead: the month of the most fun ever

June flew by like an 8 year old on a roller coaster, hyped up on cotton candy. Amazing and gleeful, but with the inevitable sugar crash as I passed out from exhaustion, smacking my head on the window of the Prius as my husband drove me home from the airport.

My big beady family

My big beady family at the reunion called Bead & Button

On June 1st, I left for Bead & Button. Ralonda and I decided to drive my Prius from Dallas to Milwaukee because we’re crazy like that. I taught 3 classes to some amazing students. I had an overachiever student finish her Andromeda Spike pendant in class! I met a couple of you (readers) at Meet the Teachers and sold a nice chunk of kits.

Fun times at the Calderone Club.

Fun times at the Calderone Club, sooo goood!

I also worked at the Beyond Beadery booth, and ate delicious eggplant fries with some of my favorite people. I got all dressed up for the Toho Party and had the best time drinking martinis and taking selfies with more of my favorite people. I bought a ton of Maku Raku. I laughed so much I cried, and came home really inspired to design.

This is my favorite picture from B&B 2014, and the rest are in this album on Facebook.

Laughing it up- Melissa Grakowsky Shippee, me, Laura Ziener, and Jill McKay

Laughing it up- Melissa Grakowsky Shippee, me, Laura Ziener, and Jill McKay

When I returned I had ONE day and then left to teach at the Tyler Bead Retreat. This time it was me, Ralonda, and my friend Karen Williams from Seattle.

3 teachers and my Prius: me, Ralonda, and Karen

3 teachers and my Prius: me, Ralonda, and Karen

I taught my new Ratan Bangle for the first time, and had a full class of 20! Ralonda and I also co-taught our first collaboration piece. When I wasn’t teaching I was working on my doll named Destiny. More retreat photos in this album on Facebook.

Our table, and I'm working on my doll named Destiny

Our table, and I'm working on my doll named Destiny

After I got back from that trip, it was time to get ready for the cruise! I had bronchitis on our honeymoon cruise, so six years later we had the opportunity for a re-do with friends. “Swim with the dolphins” has now been crossed off my bucket list.

Cody and me swimming with Reggae the Jamaican dolphin.

Cody and me swimming with Reggae, the Jamaican dolphin

After that trip, I had ONE day before I flew to Cleveland, Ohio to film 2 TV segments for Beads, Baubles and Jewels with Katie Hacker. She interviewed me about my podcast, tips for creative people, and I showed how to create my fabric cabochons and bezel them with seed beads. That night, a few of us gals from this series went to the home of Kieu Pham Gray for a delicious dinner and bubble tea!

Katie Hacker and me on the set of Beads, Baubles and Jewels.

Katie Hacker and me on the set of Beads, Baubles and Jewels

For beaders interested in my fabric cabochons, I created some mix bags which can be found here in my etsy shop.

After that trip I flew home, and my husband picked me up. In the split second before falling asleep and smacking my head I thought “Wow, if this is June, I wonder what July and August will be like!”


BCP 15 | Albion Stitch with Heather Kingsley-Heath

Heather Kingsley-HeathHeather Kingsley-Heath is a beadworker living and working in England She the creator of Albion stitch, a new beading technique, and has published two books on the stitch with a third, and much anticipated, book now in production. Her work has been featured in Perlen Poesie, Beadwork, Bead and many other magazines. As a tutor, Heather is a kind, patient, lively, and inspiring teacher, generous with her design processes and techniques.

In the interview, she tells the story of how she developed Albion stitch, and we discuss teaching philosophy, her first visit to the US, and go down a few rabbit holes of inspiration. I hope you enjoy the interview!

Spinning Wave Pendant

Show Notes:

Little Owl by Heather Kingsley-Heath

Little Owl by Heather Kingsley-Heath

More listening options:

Want to win Heather’s Little Owl pattern? All you have to do is leave a comment below about the show. Be sure to include your email address and I will choose the winner next week. Update: Congrats to Beth Wolland for winning the owl pattern!


Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal


As soon as I saw the beautiful fused glass piece, I immediately had a vision of what it would become. From the technique (my favorite-freeform peyote) to the shape and the strap, to it’s happy essence, I followed my intuition. This necklace is the result and I am very pleased! I clocked this one at 19.5 hours.


This is the bead soup sent by my lovely swap partner Judy Robinson. I poured out a small portion of the seed beads for the photo. She also made me a lovely wood turned bowl which I love! I’m excited to use the copper beads in another piece, but I haven’t gotten that far yet. Thanks, Judy!


This is my sketch and the beginning of the necklace. I used the colors of the fused glass as a guide.


Here it is beginning to take shape. It did go through an ugly duckling stage where I hated it, hehe. I kept going and asked the beads where the wanted to be.

There were nearly 500 participants for the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party, and all the links can be found on the main page here. Please continue to hop and enjoy all the beautiful creations, and thanks to Lori for all her hard work organizing!


BCP 14 | The Glory Days of Beading with Jeannette Cook

jeannettepic Jeannette Cook is a nationally recognized bead artist and workshop instructor and owner of Beady Eyed Women®. She has been working with beads as an art form since 1968. Jeannette is one of the nation’s original beadwork instructors. Students have described her as: “Inspiring, fun, spirit freeing. Jeannette along with a former partner have written and self published six popular beading books. She has taught all over the US and in Japan, and her work has been published in numerous magazines in books.

In my interview with Jeannette, we discuss the early days of the beading business, her signature class called Mastering the Curl, and her experience using Big Cartel to sell her kits online. I hope you enjoy the interview.

Mastering the Curl by Jeannette Cook

Show Notes

Cityscape Cuff by Jeannette Cook

Cityscape Cuff by Jeannette Cook

More listening options:

What do you think? I want to know what you think of “hippie style.” Are you drawn to bright, happy colors? If not, what colors resonate with you the most.
Have other thoughts about the show? Please share with us in the comments!