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!


BCP 13 | Romantic Beading with Melissa Shippee

melissa_grakowskyIt is an honor to introduce my guest, Melissa Grakowsky Shippee. She originated from and still resides in the rolling hills of Connecticut. She received a BFA in Painting and a BS in Physics from the University of Connecticut in 2006. Since then, she has discovered the world of beadwork and fallen in love with this art form. As the graphics coordinator for Beads East, she learned most of the bead stitches by writing beadwork instructions.

Melissa created an award-winning beaded mask, created several more in the collection, and went on to teach a full workshop on the technique at
B&B 2013. She is drawn to crystals, metallic beads, and contrasting colors. One of her primary design principles is to have some form of self-similarity on all scales, an idea pulled from mathematics and nature.

Queen Isabella's Sceptre Lariat being taught at B&B by Melissa Shippee

Queen Isabella's Sceptre Lariat being taught at B&B by Melissa Shippee

In my interview with Melissa, we discuss her gorgeous beaded masks, her book I Can Herringbone: From Basic Stitch to Advanced Techniques, and her new venture, Bead Elves. I hope you enjoy the interview.


Show Notes

More listening options:

Want to win a kit or tutorial from Melissa? All you have to do is leave a comment answering the question: What word would you use to describe your style? Be sure to include your email address and if you are in the U.S. or an international beader. We will randomly select the winners next week. Good Luck!

Giveaway update: The winners have been chosen, and congrats to Lisa Ballowe and Carol Hitchcock! Check your email inbox with instructions for how to claim your prizes. Big thanks to all who entered!


The Joy of Designing


Neva over at the Bead Mavens wrote an excellent post on Challenges, Competitions, and Inspiration. I invite you to give it a read, and I have a few things to add to her wonderful suggestions.

If you are anything like me, and get stuck in “I’ll never make anything as good as that” zone when you finally sit down to design- stay away from looking at other people’s beadwork.

Instead of letting your creativity flow, you can accidentally create a block for yourself. I know, because I’ve done it myself. It’s only when I step away, and look at what inspires me and my voice do I find success.

Looking at vintage, fine, or costume jewelry is ok for me, since its not beading, I can separate and admire the shape, the color, or the composition. I also love photography websites like 500px.com or recordings of runway shows. When you find that thing for you that makes you grab your notebook and record your ideas before you lose them- well that’s your home, and you can always go back to that place for inspiration.

What is the theme of your work? Nature, bold, organic, calming, fringey? Look at your pieces and think- “what am I good at, what do I love about my work,and where do I want to take it.” Then, you can be true to you, and design from that place versus looking at all the gorgeous stuff that other people have created.

Like the quote at the top of the page says, Comparison is the Thief of Joy. So I’ve taught myself to not compare when designing, to go everywhere for inspiration except for what has already been created in beadwork, and go straight for the joy of creating.

{ 1 comment }

BCP 12 | Embracing Color with Margie Deeb


I am honored to have the Color Queen herself as my guest today. Margie Deeb was the first artist /author to publish a book on color specifically addressing the challenges presented by working with glass beads. I personally own and use her books, The Beader’s Guide to Color and The Beader’s Color Palette. Her passion for color and movement is the driving force in all her creations. In addition, Margie teaches her color and beading seminars to artists of all mediums across the country and online at CraftArtEdu.

In my interview with Margie, we discuss how to break out of color ruts, what colors look good on everyone, and what to do when you’re making something for someone else and you don’t like the colors they’ve chosen.

We also unpack all the goodness that will be in her upcoming book: The Beader’s Guide to Jewelry Design. Enjoy the interview!

That Silver Ribbon of Road by Margie Deeb and Frieda Bates

Show Notes

More listening options:

What do you think? Do you gravitate to a certain color? Will you try one of the exercises discussed with one of your upcoming projects? What have you previously learned from Margie that you have already applied? Share with us in the comments below!


Creating A Magical 2014

I like choosing a word of the year because it helps me get clarity around what I would like to create in my life. A word is something that stirs my soul versus resolving to do something I “should” already be doing.

My 2013 word-of-the-year was Completion. Even though I did not complete the two projects I mentioned specifically in last year’s blog post (oops, just realized it, too!), I completed many more things on a daily basis. If it took 5 minutes or less to do, I did it right then instead of letting it pile up. My email inbox usually had 50 messages or less. I also focused on the completion of scary tasks like my Bead and Button teaching application, and I was accepted to teach 3 projects. Woohoo! The word completion reminded me that its all about the baby steps we take towards our goals, day in and day out, that really matter.


My 2014 word-of-the-year is Joy. I realize sometimes I take things too seriously. When approached with a life challenge, I want to think “how can I make this fun?” I want to do the dishes with joy just as I bead with joy. I want all the good stuff to float to the top of my thoughts and I want to be able reframe things in the positive, in the moment. Above is the pen I’m creating with my word on it so I can be reminded of it on a daily basis. To create your own pen, you can download my free eBook that includes instructions, my peyote alphabet, and graph paper.

Tips for choosing your word
I usually think of a couple words and try them out in my mind. One will stick above the others. I try other words to see if one is better, but if there’s not another one I like better after a couple days, I know I have the right one for me. My advice is to get quiet, listen to your wise self, and it will come to you. Here are some example words for you to try out:


































































When you have your Word, share it with us in the comments below so we can start the momentum of creating a magical 2014!
Happy New Year!


BCP 11 | Breaking the Rules with Nancy Cain

It feels great to be back on the mic! I am excited to share my Bead & Button classes and Jamberry Nails page with you. Thanks for your support!

In my interview with Nancy Cain, we discuss the breaking the rules, design process, and her class on Craftsy. I hope you enjoy the interview.

Manitou Incline Colorado

Nancy at the top of Manitou Incline Colorado

Show Notes

Northern Lights designed by Nancy Cain

Northern Lights designed by Nancy Cain

More listening options:

Dragonfly designed by Nancy Cain

Dragonfly designed by Nancy Cain

Want to win a Dragonfly Kit or a Crafty class with Nancy? All you have to do is leave a comment below answering this question:

If you could create any animal with beads, what animal would you create, and what stitch do you visualize it in?

Be sure to answer both parts of the question and include your email address and which prize you would like to receive. I will select the winner next Wednesday.


Found Objects Blog Hop Reveal

The challenge: Find an object in your home or from the outdoors and combine it with freeform peyote to make something to post on reveal day.

My inspiration: At my day job, we print big graphics on banners and trade show booths etc. One of my favorite jobs is printing for NY Fashion Week, which is how I came across Jesse. His line is called Realm Jewelry, and he make the coolest pieces ever with safety pins!

Found Object: Safety Pins


I found all the objects for my project in my studio as well! I took an owl charm and broke of the bail. Then, I sewed it to a piece of green-grey fish leather.


Since its a necklace, I wanted to be sure it would fit well. I roughly sketched out what I wanted the overall shape to be, and where the chain would attach.


At this stage I decided to focus on the green palette only since it was going to be so crazy. I also decided to leave out the big stuff and use size 15, 11, 8, and 6 seed beads mostly.


I love to look back at these pictures, and how it grows. There are hundreds of tiny decisions that shape the whole thing!


I worked hard to shape the left side up, after my tension had curved it the opposite way.


I decided to do more in this area to achieve the look by folding and stitching a section down, so more could be added. I also worked to created two definite edges on the bottom, and using the darker beads helped achieved that.


I worked on it from about noon to 10pm on Thursday, and I am about an hour or two away from finishing it. After my event today, I plan to come home and finish it so I can post the final picture and wear it!

Update: It’s finished!


Here are the other participants in the blog hop. Please visit them and leave a comment as each one is very special to us. Thanks!

Mandi Ainsworth – host (you are here)
Karen Williams – host

Nancy Dale
Regina Roper
Lisa Jones
Romana Tschunko
Catherine Chinoy
Annita Wilson

SaraBeth Cullinan
Therese Frank
Naan Pocen
Lies Koster
Halina Trolle
Sally Russick
Judy Pennington
Anna Belous


Ocean 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 challenge, chose the ocean for inspiration…


and put together the kits..


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

Amy Royster

I took my challenge beads to a bead retreat and I wouldn’t allow myself to work on anything else until it was finished, or at least almost finished. When I saw the colors together, I instantly thought of ocean waves. When I think of waves, I see a dark blue at the base, getting gradually lighter and culminating with the white caps at the tips. I attempted to simulate that with a spiral rope, the darkest blue in the middle of the rope getting gradually lighter with the whites at the ends of the spiral. I was very pleased with the outcome and decided that I needed some kind of “sand” for the back of my “ocean”. I checked my stash, and found that I didn’t bring along anything that closely resembled “sand”. It was at that time, that one of the ladies mentioned that she wanted to go to the bead store down the road, so I jumped at the chance. It took a little searching, but I finally decided on the 8° hex cut light topaz beads.

Ocean necklace

Once back at the retreat, I played around with Marcia DeCoster’s Romantica component. One of the gals said “It’s too bad that there’s not 5 points on that thing. Then it would look like a starfish”. That’s when it hit me! I would make the back of the necklace out of a string of starfish. As I was working those, I decided that I wanted to show a starfish in the waves. Once that was done, I felt it really needed something else. I showed my progress to the others and it was unanimous, it just needed something… I racked my brain and my beads to see what I could come up with. I found some bright red Delicas and thought…. Hmmm I wonder if I could find a pattern for a small crab or lobster. I checked online and there it was, on a Marta Stewart page, a beaded crab. It was tiny and cute and absolutely perfect for what I wanted! (I LOVE his little beaded eyes!) I also made coordinating earrings.

starfish and crab earrings

Cheryl Norwood

Title: Dolphins Jumping for Joy
When I was a little girl, I got to visit the California beach quite often because my Dad’s brother lived in the Los Angeles area. We would visit them at least every other summer if not every one, and of course when we went out there we would go to the beach which was a lot of fun!


I grew up and got married and haven’t been back to the California beach in awhile. However, we moved to South Texas just 15 minutes from the Gulf Coast. My first visit to the Gulf was quite amazing! It was different from the California beach. The Gulf wasn’t nearly the blue water as the Ocean in California and the sand or beach was more rocky than just sand. But the most amazing thing to me was that you could walk out on this jetty and at a certain time of day you could watch the Dolphins jumping out of the water and doing their little tricks! So, this is what I tried to capture on my bracelet….The Dolphins Jumping for Joy!

Lauren Yodzio Gil Design

Title: Sea Foam
I started the piece inspired by the waves and color of the bead collection. My initial thought was to create a necklace that represented the bubbles in the ocean as a fish, diver, or sea creature expels air. The way the bubbles rise to the surface made me think of jelly fish. The focal piece is the lovely hand crafted lamp work bead by Bonnie Beard interpreted as a jelly fish swimming to the surface.


I’ve been beading for about 6 years now. Enjoying creating and learning new techniques. I don’t have a website, but happy to hear from beaders around the world at laurenyodzio@gmail.com


Megan Sears-Mowinski

Title: Turtle Splash
My name is Megan Sears-Mowinski, I’m 27 years old and live in Roseville, MI. Make sure to Look out for my upcoming website Keys 4 Kures within the next month! Until then, I can be reached at keys4kures@gmail.com

Turtle Splash

When deciding which bead stitch for this challenge, I automatically thought of a netting stitch. With the different blues and white/clear I felt with a vertical netting stitch I could make a beautiful pattern that reminds me of the ocean waves. I also came across the Turtles, and teal and aqua pearls at my favorite bead and craft store. As soon as I spotted them I knew they’d make a beautiful addition to my necklace.

Turtle Clasp

Marilou Porth

This challenge was much harder for me than I imagined it would be. The colors, especially the white was problematic. Having color-lined beads made it a little more challenging too! I added some rizos and delicas in the aqua color. I also added some ab crystal spikes, some matte 6mm round beads, opalite beads of various sizes and shapes as well as Swarovski 4470 rounded squares.

beach treasures necklace

The design is from a class I taught several years ago–Vintage Treasure Necklace. I was surprised at the easy way the toggle and clasp came together. I’m going to have to use that mariner’s wheel design again. The colors alone are indicative of the beach as are the small treasures. A beachcombers dream? Maybe! Making the various dangling treasures was a lot of fun! I ultimately enjoyed the experience and hope to participate in such challenges in the future.


Teresa Salas

Bonnie Blue lives in the ocean and enjoys spending her days horsing around. She was created using all the bead types in the kit and 6 small pearls, which were used for air bubbles.

Beaded Seahorse

The ocean and the life that it holds has always been a fascination for me so this fun challenge was a joy. Thanks for pushing me into the deep end.

Chris Pratt

When I saw the beads in the kit I immediately thought of the white foam on waves crashing into the beach. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do until I found this sand dollar. (Found in a craft store that is!)


After experimenting with several types of spirals and bead combinations I settled on a basic DNA spiral – a classic. The sand dollar was glued to stiff PelLon and I started beading around it until it looked ‘right’. Thanks for the challenge – it was fun!

Ralonda Patterson

Every shade of blue has its own inspiration and calls for a new direction. Its intensity changes from the depths of the ocean to the current of a river. The swirls of the lamp-worked art bead by Bonnie Beard took me to a place of swirling currents and eddies of water. The cone found in Kate McKinnon’s new book, Contemporary Geometric Beadwork, was the perfect technique to create soft and inviting swirls and currents that would capture your imagination and take you to a soft and serene place.

Beaded 2 Bless

What do you think?

Thank you so much to all the participants! I love every single story and project. To all those viewing the exhibition, please feel free to leave comments about the pieces that speak to you, and if you think this is something I should do again.
Peace & Love, Mandi