KR Designs 11 - Beadwoven Jewelry Blog

This blog is for my comments about making beadwoven jewelry, my inspirations, frustrations, and love of color.

The banner is Lilacs in Springtime, a free form peyote bracelet.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

What I did since my Last Post

I am writing this post on my new computer. I am happy with my purchase, at least as much as I have set up and can operate. It has a touch screen as well as a keyboard with a key pad. It was one of the best buys at Best Buy this week--pardon the pun--but totally unplanned. My advice to everyone is to learn to back up your files and to update your software when the new version comes out so that you don't have the additions from five versions to learn as I do in Photoshop Elements, going from 7 to 12! I promise photos in my next post.

I have been studying how to sell what I make with an emphasis on the customer's perspective rather than demonstrating my passion for bead weaving. I really do love creating jewelry for customers. I like to create beauty, beautiful things that my customers enhance with their own wonderful qualities.
Visitors to my art fair booths fall in love with items, but perhaps cannot envision what occasion or event they might wear it to or with the clothing they already have in their closets. Perhaps they see something in my shop they kind of like, but it's not their color or it's too narrow, the beads are too tiny, or whatever.

I am planning to write my blog posts to address those subjects and more if you care to post in the comments what you would like to learn more about. I am going to correspond via email with those who agree to sign up to a mailing list when I set it up. Please give me some feedback as to how frequently you might like to receive a mailing from me.

Enjoy November before all the craziness of the holidays and cold weather set in upon us.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Autumn Arrives at KRDesigns

It seems fall has arrived early this year. My neighbors have a beautiful maple tree which has been decked out in Christmas colors of red and green for some time now. Perhaps it is suffering the effects of last years heat and drought; I'm hoping it recovers to continue decorating the neighborhood. Things in my life have made me feel my years as I am undoubtedly in the autumn of my life.

I have been creating with shades of brown, even khaki which is a brownish olivine green color, as well as bronze and rose gold. The color choices are beautiful and striking in that I rarely use these colors and do not wear them myself.

I returned to my Noreena Jasper palate, which I shared at my Art Fairs late last year, to make a couple bracelets with the 4mm stones and some maroon Swarovski crystal pearls. I made these too large for the women who were interested in them; they are larger than average size and will be in my Etsy shop after I photograph them.

Noreena Jasper is a semi precious stone which comes from Australia. I ordered seed beads for a dutch spiral necklace emphasizing either red or golden brown in the spiral part; the one I made last year with variegated beads sold immediately and before I had taken a picture of it. This year's version with red delica beads in the spiral sold when it was less than a six inch piece of beadwork. These are perfect autumn colors.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Art in Your Eye Festival in Batavia, Illinois

My next Art Fair is my last outdoor show for the season. My booth and inventory have been cleaned and/or polished after last Sunday's all day rain event. We have been promised sunny weather with  high temps in the low 60's.

For details about this show, please check their website

My booth is in row A, #3, close to last year's spot.

The photo is of a noreena jasper dutch spiral necklace which I just completed. I sold it last Saturday when it was about a 6 inch spiral. I have more items in my Noreena Jasper collection, as well as my Porcelain Jasper collection which I featured in my jury photos. I also have several new bracelets in autumn colors, and in rose gold. The link to Art in Your Eye's website has a photo of my Porcelain Jasper dutch spiral necklace, which is available for sale.

I am bringing my camera, hoping I have some time for photos for this blog.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

LaGrange West End Art Fair This Weekend

Friday night from 6 pm to 9 pm the LaGrange, Illinois Art Fair has a preview night with a jazz performance, beer, wine and appetizers available to for sale, plus some of the artists are open for business (bring your wallets, please). It is fun to see the booths with lights with the electricity provided free to the artists who bring extension cords. Commuters can get off the train at the Stone Avenue Station and start their weekend. I will again be participating in the preview evening, so please stop by my booth.

The full show starts on Saturday at 10 am until 5 pm and continues Sunday until 4 pm--remember the early closing time.

My display has shifted to fall colors with new bracelets in khaki green, copper and shades of brown replacing the pinks and yellows of my summer shows. I'm working on a dutch spiral necklace in Noreena Jasper colors featuring cranberry, terra cotta, amber, and dark topaz.

For additional information, comment on my blog or check out this link for a schedule of events.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Grand Detour Art Fair on Sunday

This Sunday I will be participating in the Grand Detour Arts Festival from 9 am to 4 pm at the John Deere Historic Site in Dixon, Illinois. This is approximately 1.25 hours drive from the western suburbs of Chicago travelling along I88, so it would make a great fun and educational day trip. The site has a house and replica of John Deere's blacksmith shop where the first steel plow was invented in 1837. Wikipedia has a five page description giving details at John Deere Historic Site

There is a customer parking lot near the entrance. Admission fee is $3 or canned goods donation to the Dixon Food Pantry. There will be food vendors on site with an eating tent not too far from my booth, #31. There are 60+ artists, just the right size to have an enjoyable family day. An alternative to the Bears football game.....

Friday, August 23, 2013

Illinois State Fair

Sign directing us to the building where the exhibition was held on the fairgrounds.

Photo of the display of my entry with the pink award ribbon and description card.

The Illinois State Fair is now over for 2013 and my necklace was returned unsold. If you are interested in it, please contact me in the comments.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Illinois State Fair Professional Artists Exhibition Award

My Variscite Pendant Woven Necklace received an Honorable Mention Award at the Professional Art Exhibition, Craft Division, Illinois State Fair, Springfield, Illinois. It will be on display during the Fair 8/9 - 8/18/13.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Out of State Art Fair

I participated in an Art Fair in Neenah, Wisconsin last Sunday. It was sponsored by the Bergstrom Mahler Museum which has a collection of vintage paper weights. If you find yourself nearby, take the time to see their exhibit, especially if you like things made of glass. Entry fee is a donation.

Across the street from the museum is a park with very old trees and a river view. The lake can be seen from the back of the museum which is on a peninsula. My booth was at the far end with the back of my tent to the main events as all tents faced out so they could use the street or sidewalks as a path for the people. Lots of people attended the show. They even arrived about an hour early to see the show. A lot of fancy/expensive cars were on display as the Bergstrom family has more than a few auto dealerships in southeastern Wisconsin.

I brought items under $300 along with my jury items. The people seemed to understand what I did, that it was labor intense, and overall enjoyed it. I was successful in bringing beauty to the people who visited my booth. The management of the show did a visual inspection of my booth to make sure I brought what I juried. First show that checked that! I was too busy to see the judge, just found the dot on my name card; there was no fanfare with the presentation of the awards, either.

Most of the family groups that visited had a budget which I'm sure was less than my price points. I didn't even sell a pair of earrings, despite bringing a second earring display and starting my prices at $30/pair instead of $40. I've determined that I will find another way to sell the items I consider being my lower price points, as they take more time to set up and maintain in shiny silvery condition than my beaded bracelets and necklaces. As usual, the day was humid and ended up with rain, so I will be polishing the earwires and putting them in antitarnish plastic least favorite activity.

I have two sales from the effort which is almost enough to cover the expenses, considering two nights in a bargain rate hotel and 461 miles at 28 mpg. We took both sets of weights (8 bags) because the forecast had been for thunderstorms which did not materialize. Unfortunately, some of the artists thought it was going to rain, and started packing up around 1 p.m. Seems the numerous volunteers left early, but I was not the last artist out of the park, packing up a wet tent, etc. and pulling out of the park just past 6 p.m. from a show end of 4 p.m. The tent is now cleaned and dry, put away in the garage, having dried set up in the garage for a day.

It was hard to travel to this show because breakfast was not available before set up and most restaurants served brunch on Sunday and closed early. The items available at the event were not on my diet, although my husband thought they had the best kettle corn. I found raw almonds were most satisfying from my choice of water, cherries, a Lara bar and almonds. Prices in the restaurants were reasonable, with 6 oz. meat portions readily available.

I learned I need to check out restaurants and their hours of service, to find a place close to the event that has tea and to accept that my lowest prices are not within the reach of many of the show visitors. Need to learn to use my phone's camera! Sorry no pics!!!

My next shows will probably be in September, as I am wait listed for two shows until then. I am planning on attending the Illinois State Fair to see my necklace on display.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Art Fair This Weekend in Northbrook, Illinois

This weekend's event is in downtown Northbrook, Illinois, in the Children's Park. It is promoted as being for the children, but I haven't come  up with a product suitable for children. Mostly the jewelry has small parts and lead as hazards. Swarovski is starting to manufacture their beads without lead, but I haven't seen multifaceted beads in their new stock, just some that are reminiscent of Czech glass. Looking forward to seeing their new products as more are rolled out.

The details for the show can be found at
Artists appearing in the show have photos of their work so you can preview the event and make sure you see the ones that you like most.

Don't forget that it ends at 4 p.m. on Sunday, to allow sufficient time to see the show. This will be my second year, and many artists will be returning as well as new additions.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I want to list links for shows for those who are interested in details of the Art Fairs I will be appearing in.

Dixon, Illinois' Petunia Festival includes Nuts About Art on Saturday during the long July 4th weekend. Dixon is about 1.25 hours west of Aurora, so my travel time will be about the same as a trip to the North Shore suburban shows. Activities are detailed here:

The Northbrook, Illinois Show which is held in the Children's Park near the train station in the downtown area is at:

Neenah, Wisconsin, Bergstrom-Mahler Museum Festival is held at the museum and lakefront park. I'll be booth 37, close to North Park Avenue along Riverside Parkway. The Museum, known for its paperweight collection, will be open and will have lampworking demonstrations; there are 75 artists participating. For more information see:

Planning a visit to the Illinois State Fair?   Be sure to visit the Artisans Building on the fairgrounds for the Professional Art Exhibition. A bead embroidered necklace of mine was juried into the exhibit.

The fair is in Springfield, Illinois from August 9 - 18, 2013. The necklace will be available for sale at the Fair for $495.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Sky Blue

I have been wanting to work with shades of blue for a while and finally completed a 12 inch section of dutch spiral weave for a necklace. I found a supplier on Etsy who tags items by color which worked wonderfully for me. The photos are of sky blue.  Swarovski crystals call this color turquoise (an opaque bead), Czech fire polished glass is a light aquamarine (transparent bead), and Miyuki calls it opaque turquoise blue and sky blue. So it's no wonder I found myself at my local bead store trying to match and/or complement these colors so that I can complete this necklace. The color is lovely, whatever it's name is. Anyone have suggestions? Maybe looking at the turquoise cabochons I have to bead embroider will help....

My wait listed Art Fair for this forecasted rainstorm weekend did not have any cancellations, fortunately for me because it is no fun to do an outdoor show when storms are occurring, especially when you are a last minute invitee with little time to plan and prepare. My next show is on the 4th of July weekend. This gives me time to create more and tend to my Etsy shop, as well as my personal life.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Riverside Arts Weekend

Links are for information on my upcoming art fair. The first is from the promoter and the second is from the event. Each has different relevant information.

If you are looking for other attractions/activities nearby, the Brookfield Zoo is just west of Riverside, at 31st and 1st Avenue.

Hope to see you at the show!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Latest Additions to Art Fairs

I just learned I was accepted in a show at the Bergstrom Mahler Museum in Neenah, Wisconsin on 7/21 (Sunday). This will be my first out of town show. The museum specializes in glass which is a personal interest for us.

Earlier I added Nuts About Art in Dixon, Illinois on the Saturday over the fourth of July weekend. There is one in September at that location which I might add, although my September weekends are busy and there is the possibility of a wait list show finding space for me (I hope).

These shows are smaller than my suburban Chicago shows and are just for one day. I am not fond of the huge shows with crowds of people. I like to spend time talking to the visitors to my booth and showing them personally the items that attract their attention.

I received the final instructions for my first show of the season, so despite the record flooding earlier in April, the show will go on! If you are near Riverside, Illinois the weekend after Mother's Day, please visit. It is held in the park adjacent to the train station, in the heart of town.

I wish I were blogging more, but I've got to turn my ideas for topics into posts.

I am avoiding Facebook because it freezes my computer, so I don't like to use it. Norton utilities reports the sites posting on my wall are safe. But this has been an on going problem with Facebook, so the plan is to blog more.

Enjoy Spring!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Art Fairs as of April 1, 2013

Blogger is not allowing editing of the links right now which means I cannot update my Art Fair Listing. No, it's not April Fool's joke...

I have been accepted to the EM Events shows which are in Riverside, Northbrook, LaGrange and Batavia (Illinois) in May, July, and September. I have been placed on the wait list for shows in Deerfield, Geneva and Lake Forest, Illinois.

Details for patrons have not been updated for this year; I will post when that information is available.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Latest Creations and Art Fairs

This Dragonfly Button Bracelet is the latest in my button series. It does not have any hex (hexagon) shaped beads, so it was easier for me to stitch. I started another button bracelet with metallic blue purple hex beads only and ordered 3 more packages of beads since two packages created about half the bracelet length. These beads are labelled size 8, but appear to be smaller than the other size 8's I've used on this series. The button is quite striking, so having all the same beads is a good background for it. Photo when finished.

Recently completed another druzy pendant - amethyst with blue purple beads similar to the in process button bracelet. There are round amethyst beads in the chain, too.

Speaking of amethyst, I am waiting to receive a cabochon from one of my favorite suppliers on Etsy.

I was hoping it would show the photo, but I'll settle for the link so you can see Sheila's shop, Tradewinds Studio, if you choose. The url must not be public because using the photo function of Blogger tells me it can't find the url.

I will be showing my work at a private fundraising party for the Riverside Arts Weekend show next weekend. I'm looking forward to speaking with the guests about my process in creating my jewelry and showing off my jewelry creations. It will give the guests an opportunity to think about items that they might want me to create for them or purchase from my inventory. People need to think about my items before they purchase, as it is seldom an impulse purchase. Often they purchase for special occasions or to coordinate with something else that they don't have with them at the Art Fairs. My customers need to get to know me as well as I need to see how a particular style or item fits them, both physically and their personality.

I was accepted for the LaGrange West End Art Festival which will be my third year in a row. It's nice to be in a show where people remember your work. I learn a lot from the people who stop in my booth. My button bracelet series was inspired from a customer at this show, so thanks to her, I learned how to do something more confidently. I was puzzled at how to make them fit well (the button loop closure). For another customer, the Muse needs to visit to show me how to combine amethyst and peridot; I just don't have the right beads. Often I collect beads stored together until I stumble on just the right ones, or most of the right ones. Maybe that cabochon I'm expecting will be the key, or at least it will make a gorgeous jewelry item. Wonder what it will look like?

I've been reading how to have a great blog which has made me more critical of anything I might write. I've learned not to ramble on .........

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Creations for the Riverside Arts Weekend

This is a newly created Black & Royal Blue Button Bracelet which has been listed in my etsy shop.

When I applied to the Riverside Arts Weekend art fair, I thought I would use Czech glass items in my new work because when I lived near Riverside, IL, the communities nearby were Bohemian, Slovak, and Czech neighborhoods. This bracelet features a glass .875 inch black glass button with a shiny metallic look royal blue color on the highest points in the design. It was recently made in Czechslovakia from old molds; others are hand painted with bright gold paint accents. They are worthy of being the focal point of my bracelets.

The bands of the bracelets are wide, about 1.5 inches, as the buttons range in size from .875 to 1.25 inches. Anything larger, I would create a bead embroidered pendant or pin featuring the button. A future project....

I chose to create a band in a traditional bead weaving stitch called brick stitch. I chose as many shaped seed beads as I could find in size 8 in the two colors and ended up with 4 black beads and 2 royal beads, and I alternated the rows of beads. The hex shaped beads were smaller in diameter, so the pattern created did not create a traditional brick work design and the bracelet does not lay flat but looks okay when worn. I alternated the number of beads per row with the black rows being one bead longer so the edges have a zigzag appearance.

The lesson I learned is that not all beads labelled as a size measure the same size. I will use the hex shaped beads alone next time. Previously, I chose to create a bracelet in black hex size 11 beads with black diamond square size 11 beads in blocks of color with the same number of rows which kept a similar width but had very different lengths on the bracelet. It is in the traditional 3 drop peyote stitch, and was sold at an Art Fair last summer.

I have learned that I need to create a sample of the weaving to make sure it looks the way I want it to be. The weaving time (about 12 hours) is too much to invest in a "mistake" as I learned by redoing the black & royal blue button bracelet, but cutting the first version apart relieved some of my original frustration. So if you are a beader, please learn from my experience.

If you would like to visit the website of the Riverside Art Weekend, the link is  They have just started developing 2013's site and have the list of artists to date. The show is just about two months away, in Mid May, and is one of the first of the season in the Chicago area. Seeing my necklace on the site makes the upcoming show more real despite the snow which is falling outside my window!

Next beading project in the button bracelet series could be a black with a dragonfly on the button or a purple bracelet. Any requests for color or size?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Birth Announcement

On February 18, one of the followers of this blog gave birth to her first born, a son, named for his father. Although I have never met her in person, she is one of my facebook friends, so I was able to see the newborn pictures as well as follow the events of her pregnancy. I am grateful for this blessed event and will enjoy the development of this little miracle child as Mom is a blogger, too.

So smile and feel the happiness and love because the world is a better place. We need good news. I welcome comments regarding your positive life events and accomplishments.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Technology and Reading

I recently purchased a paper-white kindle from amazon. I like the non glare screen, and being able to read in the dark because the page is lit. That's something I always wanted to do as a child. The kindle fits well in the molded case--of course, purple was my choice of color. It is a bit heavier than I thought, but I'm used to holding bead work in my hand.  I also like that it remembers and turns on to the page I was last reading. It really downloads fast and books are easily purchased using wifi connection. It even asks if the new book was purchased by mistake! It is a touch screen, and I'm still learning to tap the right spots. It's registered to me, so I just get an email with my purchase data, the same as for MP3 purchases, except downloading music to my phone or computer from the Cloud takes a while longer.

Another thing I really like about the kindle is my books will be stored on the device. My house is full of books, some I'm not sure why I purchased them or if  I will ever read them. So I see this as an opportunity to donate books and clean up the clutter. It will also make moving easier when that occurs.

You can preview a generous sample of the books, too. It allows the reader to determine if the writer's style and topics are suitable. So far I have purchased two books on art business. They cost about $10. One is about selling paintings in galleries. It was written about in The Craft Report magazine two months in a row so I really wanted to read it. The best quotes were in the magazine.....  The latest one is about setting goals, organizing, promoting, etc. written about experience gained in running a non profit gallery and moving to earning a living from her studio art only while raising a family. The author mentions having a variety of income streams which is something I need to explore. Also has a few pages about dealing with rejection which was very helpful and timely as I am receiving the results from applications for 2013 Art Fairs.

My local library has Nooks loaded with books for patrons to check out without a fee, so if your financial plan doesn't include a reader, call your local library. You just look at the list of books the Nook is preloaded with to determine which one you want to check out.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Cobalt Blue Button Bracelet

These are photos of my latest bracelet creation, Cobalt Blue Button Bracelet. I always take a near vertical shot and then try to get the bracelet to stand up straight which neither of these is quite as I would like.

The button is a Czech glass 1.25 button which is heavier than most of my bracelets. I made the bead loop a little longer so I could wear it at 6.75 inches, but would be best for a 6.5 inch wrist. I will alter the loop to the smaller size now that I know how the bracelet feels. I try each new style on to help me understand the purchaser's experience.

The stitch is called brick stitch. I made two groupings of beads which are repeated which can best be seen in the first photo. The beads are mostly size 8 seed beads, round and hex with crystal clear 4mm and cobalt blue 3mm Czech glass rounds with the edges alternating increase/decrease rows. I used light sapphire and crystal clear beads to match the rhinestones on the button.

If you would like to try to bead your own bracelet, it is a repetitive stitch which for me takes longer than peyote stitch but has a similar alternate spacing like a brick wall. It's the one bead at a time thing that takes so long.  I found a couple sources for Czech glass buttons and would like to try a smaller (.75 inch) button with a narrower width bracelet.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bracelets in my Porcelain Jasper Collection

This bracelet features the colors around the stone in the herringbone necklace. It is one of my favorite styles to make, always using different materials to make them unique.

The bracelet below is a new design for me which came about because I did not have enough of one of the beads to finish my design as planned. When I learned I couldn't get more of the bead, I purchased some 6mm porcelain jasper rondelles from my local bead store and sat with the bracelet until I created a closure as well as added more than an inch to the width of the bracelet. I plan to create bracelets similar to the alternating row part using a Czech glass button closure for some of my lower price point items offered for sale at my Art Fairs. Wish that it fit me, but it's for a 6.5 inch wrist.

This woven bracelet was inspired by the pueblo sands pink color in the porcelain jasper collection. I have created a few peyote stitch bracelets using delicas and seed beads of various sizes (gives the scrunched look) and wove up perpendicular to the base of the bracelet for the center. This one has some old Czech glass tiny bugle beads with seed beads for the unique decorations and a 20mm round rose quartz button with an opening in the weave for the buttonhole.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New Item for 2013 Jury Process

Porcelain Jasper Woven Herringbone Necklace
I have been working on items for my 2013 Art Fair applications. New work is expected, so I decided I had enough cabochons and materials in the colors of porcelain jasper to create a series of items showing different skills and in different price points. I also knew I wanted to create using bead embroidery (stitching into fabric) with some bead weaving (directly sewing the beads together) and also to limit my use of Swarovski crystals in an effort to create more everyday items versus special occasion accessories.
I am sharing a preliminary photo of one of my higher price point creations. This necklace is created from a herringbone stitch in two types of beads both called size 11, but the delica beads (pueblo sands or pinky color) are tinier and columnar shaped and the seed beads (transparent charcoal gray) are  slightly larger and a donut shape. The two beads give texture to the work. The spiral is created by stitching down one bead and up three beads before adding two more (one of each) beads. This is a very time consuming process which some find tedious. I prefer to say it is a labor of love.
I made the connection (a lobster clasp and wired ring closure) in the front with a large beaded bead which slides on the necklace and over the closure. It is hidden behind the cabochon. This leaves a nice appearance from the back view for times when wearing an updo hairstyle. The necklace is beadwoven and is 20 inches long. This style would also be attractive created with a shorter, choker length to be worn higher on the neck. The cabochon can be removed and the necklace worn with the clasp in the back for a simpler look.
I attached the bead embroidered cabochon to the beadwoven beaded bead. I created my signature lacy edging around the bezelled cabochon which is backed with soft ultrasuede. Ultrasuede does not ravel, so it is used to create a neatly finished product.
The stone cabochon is glued to a piece of fabric so that rows of beads can be sewn around the stone and capture the stone between the beads and the backing fabric, called bezelling. Beads used to create the bezel include semi precious stone hematite round beads, size 8 transparent rosaline pink seed beads and size 15 hematite colored seed beads. Finishing the outer edge and securing the ultrasuede to the bezelled cabochon are 3mm jet black Czech fire polished glass beads. The embellishment beads include size 15 hematite colored seed beads, 3mm cyclamen opal Swarovski bicone crystal beads, pueblo sands delica beads, and size 15 transparent rosaline pink  seed beads. I like to use the same bead in different sizes to connect the composition. The colors chosen are inspired by the colors I see in the stone.
This is my first post with the new version of Blogger. I am hoping to become more comfortable with the changes as I plan to share my other creations.