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When I saw the Beadworkers Guild challenge theme for 2019, "Jewels of the Nile", my first thought was to not make a collar. No way! Because there are so many out there already and amazing ones. So I searched for what could be another Jewel of the Nile and found the Egyptian blue lotus flower and god Nefertum.
Oh my!

Nymphaea caerulea. The Egyptian blue lotus is, in fact, a waterlily, but most call
 it the Egyptian blue lotus

I instantly fell in love with this beautiful waterlily and started my first creation immediately: a small vessel for tooth picks representing the waters of the Nile with the flower floating atop of it.
However, this was not a very stable construction, and the crystal beads in the vessel  - which is a bola canastas made with diagonal Cellini peyote - cut the thread without mercy. Twice...

This had the merit to answer my question as to keep the flower as a toothpick holder or not: I repaired the vessel mimicing the art of Kitsugi to forever remind me that crystals are not bola-friendly, and make that a nice toothpick holder, and create a barrette with the flower (not yet finished).

This is a sign that Eddie didn't hear it this way (Eddie is my muse and tyrant). He wanted a wesekh. Nefertum's wesekh. Bead woven. Of course!
The rules of the Guild's challenge say "we urge members to concentrate on the personal challenge - to be as good as they can, rather than pitting themselves against others". Bead embroidery would not have been easy for me. Rather the contrary. But to weave a dense collar with a curve that doesn't ruffle yet still moves with the wearer's movements, is a challenge, at least for me. So I gave in.

But before writing more about the making of the collar, I wish to tell more about lord Nefertum and his attribute, the sacred blue lotus:

Antelope with
lotus flower
The Egyptian sacred Lotus flower

While doing my research, I discovered that lotus flowers can be seen in countless ancient Egyptian tomb wall paintings and temple carvings, from the oldest to the most recent dynasties. It is everywhere: in people's hair or hands, in large collars, on piles of offerings to the gods, etc. Even around an antelope's neck. Some temples even have columns with lotus-inspired forms.

Painting of Funeral banquet in Rekhmire's tomb at Luxor,
showing servants offering lotus flower necklaces to
female guests who are seated on mats.
Photo Mick Palarczyk and Paul Smit
The god

In early Egyptian mythology, Nefertum was believed to be the first god, the young Atum (Nefertum means beautiful Atum, or youthful Atum), who came out of the blue out of a blue lotus that emerged from the primeval waters of Nun. He cried because he was alone and his tears created humanity.

Egypt, Tomb of Ramses I, Pharaoh (center)
presenting offerings to Nefertum (left)

Atum was a solar deity, so Nefertum represented the sunrise. He matured into Atum during the day before passing into the world of the dead with every sunset.

Later, as time wore on, Atum became assimilated into Ra (as Atum-Ra), the sacred scarab became the symbol of the rising sun, and so it came to be that people regarded Nefertum as a separate deity. The lotus flower never lost its popularity though. Rather the contrary.

Another funeral banquet (of Nebamum) showing
musicians and servants dancing and offering
lotus flowers and flower necklaces to guests

The Egyptian geranium
smells like roses
In the Pyramid Texts (book of the death), Nefertum is said to be the scent of the lotus flower which is held before the nose of the aging god Ra:

"Rise like Nefertum from the blue water lily, to the nostrils of Ra (the creator and sungod), and come forth upon the horizon each day."

Priest (botanist or
 with botanical
attributes and
I think that the heavenly smell of the flower is both a memory and a 'promise': the soon to come rebirth in the lotus flower (the next morning). For the Egyptians, the flower represented rebirth and they celebrated the passing of a dear one as the beginning of a new life. Of course there are many other - sometimes contradictory - legends and myths and gods.

Nefertum became the lord of perfumes, patron of the cosmetic and healing arts derived from flowers. Associated to other medicinal flowers, such as geranium (another divine smell) and cornflower, he could be described as the archetypal aromatherapist.

Actually, this blue lotus study made me order blue lotus essential oil. It smells divine and has no narcotic effects. Learn more about my love of scents in my article Perfumes and Pomanders.

What is a wesekh and / or a menat

I thought that a broad collar was called a menat, another name of goddess Hathor, whose attribute was a collar with a heavy counterpoise. It was used by her and her priestesses as a rattle for blessings.
In fact, wesekh is the  the name of the large Egyptian collar, thought to have many (protective) properties, hence worn by men and by women, and the menat is the name of the counterpoise, keeping it in place.

18th Dynasty Menat (approx. 1300 BC)

Many ancient Egyptian wesekh represent the wings of a vulture or a scarab. The golden counterpoises in the one shown below can hold it without need for a clasp. If you look at the two images below in full screen you can appreciate the fine craftsmanship of the Egyptians.

Senebtisi's collar, formed  of two golden falcon
heads. Approx. 1850-1775 B.C.
© The Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New-York
The colors

The Brooklyn Museum experts say: "For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god traveled to be reborn every morning. Naturally, blue-green faience and blue glass were cheaper alternatives to turquoise and lapis-lazuli."

Obviously, bugle beads and dagger beads are not new beads :) Isn't this amazing?
Broad Collar, ca. 1336-1327 B.C.E., ca. 1327-1323 B.C.E., or ca.1323-1295 B.C.E.
Faience, 14 7/16 x 4 7/16 in. (36.6 x 11.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum,
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 40.522. Creative Commons-BY
(Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 40.522_SL1.jpg)
Visit the Brooklyn's Museum page to learn more about this piece.


The ancient Egyptians invented enameling. They were master goldsmiths. They were masters at bead making and bead weaving. They even made some sort of seed beads. The piece above includes incredibly tiny seed beads. Looking closer at it, I realized that my collar looks as if it is made with a method very similar to the one they used.

The Egyptians already used peyote stitch to weave seed beads. A pair of beaded sandals found back in King Tut's tomb attests of this technique and of the "seed" beads existing already back then (although probably not made like seed beads, but rather one by one, by hand...)

King Tutankhamon's sandals made with "peyote" stitch

Making of my challenge piece, Nefertum's wesekh

I found the idea of humans created by the tears of the morning sun or god a wonderful legend, so I planned on including teardrops in the collar as a main design feature. Even if faceted gemstones, or diamonds, are not present in ancient Egyptian jewellery, this was the story that I decided to translate.

To create the right curve, I worked on my dress-maker's doll.
In this image you can see two Egyptian cat charms which I
renounced to include in the design.

Except for the earring findings, I had everything in my stash. It's funny how one can collect bits and pieces and keep them for a special piece, and suddenly it all comes together: real gold plated superduos, seed beads and Tila beads from Miyuki, all kept for a special occasion. This was the special occasion. I had genuine carnelian cabochons, a stone valued by the Egyptians, and tiny Carnelian round beads, turquoise pinch beads (which are close in form to the oblong beads used in many antique collars), vintage German glass cabochon, and perfectly matching Czech seed and bugle beads, all in the Egyptian's favorite colors: turquoise, lapis and dark red.

Like all important deities, one of Nefertum's attributes is the Ankh symbol. I first thought of using it for the clasp, but my second carnelian cabochon had a white stripe across and was begging to be transformed into a scarab. I made a scarab clasp with it. At the end of this article, you will find more about the making of the clasp.

I didn't keep the Ankh symbol, but the bottom part became the lotus flower stem.

RAW and MRAW stitches were used for the bezels (also for the matching earrings) - the photo of the cab left shows the cabochon in a bezel I didn't keep.

The gold-plated Egyptian charms which I also had remained unused. I didn't want the collar to shout "Egypt" but rather suggest it
Sticky thumbpad
Techniques used: a mix of netting and DW for a dense weave. It was difficult to get the curve right, but the result is so delightful to wear. It perfectly adapts to my neck and movements and doesn't ruffle!

I made  a handy tool to work on the bust: a sticky thumb-pad! I rolled a post-it around my thumb for this. I need to buy a real sticky pad to transform it into a more practical   thumb-pad!

Decisions, decisions....
For the bottom row I tried several options before deciding on the final one.

For the clasp and the bead-embroidered lotus flower, I used very thick blue leather for backing. It was very hard to pierce with the needle and I had to use grip tape, but it allowed me to nicely finish the edges of the lotus flower with a herringbone edge.

Lotus flower - back

All parts of this collar were started over several times, but it is the lotus flower for which I hesitated the most. I love 3-dimensional bead weaving and of course tried to use it. I abandoned that idea after two different 3D versions for the flower, which didn't match the design style. I was stunned by how the Egyptian "feel" disappeared instantly.

To achieve the desired look, I opted for bead embroidery. In the October 2018 journal of the BWG, Priscilla Jones explained how she made her beaded swans (shown in a previous journal). I followed her advice to use gold seed beads to outline the petals of the flower, as an homage to the invention of enameling by the Egyptians. I mixed peyote stitch with the embroidery stitches for the leaves, and added tiny 2mm carnelian round beads to make the flower motif pop out.

To create the look of a sun rising above the lotus flower I first tried a transparent join, using crystal teardrop beads, but a "floating" lotus looked odd when worn. After several unsatisfying tests, I decided to attach the flower in the same way as the teardrops in the matching earringswhich I had finished already. The herringbone edge was perfect to make this join: it offers a 4 thread-join but is not too thick, and holds everything perfectly in place. And voilà, here is the result:

Although I made the clasp first, I kept its "making of" for the end of this article. It took some serious brainstorming to create. It appears to also offer a good counter-poise balancing the weight of the front pendant which would normally pull / deform the neckline.

Matching earrings
As for challenging myself: nearly everything in this collar was out of my comfort zone: unusual colors (for me), stitches I nearly never use, bead embroidery, and a difficult theme for my usual style: it is hard to keep proportions small or medium when it comes to this magnificent civilization.

My beading mat looked like a battle field.

The making of the clasp

A few explanations how I made the scarab-clasp - it took more time thinking than making.

First I made the scarab bezel for the cab and two
leather ovals with matching magnets.
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Perhaps you remember my article "Bead Organized" about storage and organizers for beads, trays, tools and boxes with cabs and findings?
Did you notice that something very important was missing? Yes! Finished Jewelry Storage. Let's call it FJS.

Nice "psyche"
It was missing because I hadn't found the right solution for me. I had boxes full of beadwork on my shelves. There were bags with things I had completely forgotten about... and that was simply not OK.

When you love beading, chances are that you have a growing pile of beautiful things. And even if you sell and/or offer what you make to others, there are certainly plenty of things you want to keep. Maybe you have a wonderful FJS. If so, I would love to receive photos of it to add to this article. I know, however, that some have their beadwork piled up in boxes in which it ends up entangled. I have many pieces in boxes too, but to avoid the entangling part, I put everything in separate plastic bags. It is particularly useful for jewelry sets: it all remains together and nothing gets lost.

In an ideal world, I would showcase my most special pieces on shelves behind glass, and have a vanity with lots of storage space, but as for many, my world is not perfect. My apartment is small and some places tend to be invaded by what I wear most regularly, or by recently finished beadwork that I don't want to put in a box immediately... Thinking about it - I made many new pieces the past year:

One year of beading (Oct. 2017 - Oct. 2018)

I saw several lovely "Psyche" out there, as the French call them, but although I quite like them, I find that they take too much space on the ground and the price was a little high. My big pieces would also not fit in there. The only place where the storage could be added was a spot between my bedside and the window. I have been searching for a satisfying solution during months, without success.

Now this article might seem to be about what you could do, but it is actually more about something to avoid, and that is buying plastic hooks like the ones in the photo left. 3 sizes, perfect for necklaces, rings, objects like brooches, and for earrings. Super cheap, they come in multi-packs. After some hesitation, I bought a shallow Billy shelf, in which I placed these practical hooks with double-sided tape and thought that I had found the best possible FJS I could dream of. I even made lots of photos of how I arranged everything... but... as said, the world is not ideal and my plan didn't work as I hoped. The tape and the lacquer, or whatever it is, on the Billy, didn't really like one another. During the night following my installation, all the crochets came off. Needless to say that we didn't sleep super well - the hubby freaked out when the first things fell... in the end there was so much beadwork on the bottom shelf, that the last pieces barely made a sound when falling. Only the earrings, light weight, remained in place.

Yes, beads are heavy and just like bead storage, beadwork storage has to be sturdy too! I thought about attaching it all with screws... but preferred buying peg boards with assorted hooks which I can move freely, tiny shelves and elastic cord which offer the perfect support for earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Unfortunately, this resulted in costing a bit more than foreseen. What I use less is in sturdy boxes, with stickers mentioning what is in there, so now I know where my CGB beadwork is, or tutorial beadwork, or contest beadwork, There is a  box for "specials", etc. So here is my FJS. It takes only 40x28cm on the ground but is 2 meters high and holds everything I want.

The bracelets are on a support that is normally meant for house-hold paper.
The tiny shelves are metal, and so magnets stay very well on them.

I cannot say that this is my dream FJS - the back of a Billy shelf is not so sturdy... but so far it  stays put and is very practical. Now if you wish to create this shallow storage with peg boards (called Skadis), unless you are really handy yourself... you might need an ingredient that might be hard to find: a handy hubby. And I would like to take this opportunity to thank my dear one for cutting the peg board and fixing it and also for the many other things he does. Love him b

My next buy might be a mirror that can open and close thanks to hinges at the back. They mention that one can add small objects at the back of the mirror where the crochets for screws are not in use. What I would do is hang my favorite pendants and earrings against the wall and close the mirror to hide it all! Hop! On my wish list for x-mas!

Now if I could find more hands to help me rip out old stuff to ⥀... but that is another story.  

I hope that this inspires you. Thank you for reading me! Maybe you also will like to bead with me?

Use coupon code CATHELIER to get 25% off of all patterns - valid only on my website until 30.11.2018 (not on Etsy). 

Happy Beading!

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I discovered freeform peyote and bead embroidery nearly at the same time. I was completely fascinated by Tina Koyama's and Lillian Todaro's beautiful beadwork.

I have never learned it from a teacher, or book and was a bit lost, but managed to make 2 necklaces.with bead embroidery and freeform straps. Both are dating back to 2006. One is called Atoll, inspired by the beautiful photography "Eye of the Maldives" by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, and the other is called BaBe ('Baah-Bay') - formed by 3 rivers, in Vietnam. Babe means 3 lakes, but it forms only one nowadays, due to all the sediments that have filled the bottom of these 3.


Although I love the result very much, they are far from perfect, and I wanted to learn more beadweaving techniques before tackling this type of beadwork again. I got hooked on Cellini peyote, and geometric beading, but I knew that I would come back to freeform one day. 

I made progress and created many designs. One day, I dreamt of another, entirely freeform beadwoven necklace, called Liquid Earth. In that dream I offered it to sha-woman Keisha Crowther, aka Little Grandmother and founder of the Tribe of Many Colors. Keisha is a protector of Mother Earth and healer. I respect her work tremendously, and so I made it, and sent it to her.

'Liquid Earth'

Last Summer, I decided to offer a workshop to other persons who are also struggling with health issues, in collaboration with our common ergotherapist.

I decided to teach them peyote, and a freeform ring, and see what would happen. To prepare myself for this class, get my hands back at freeform peyote and have an example to show to them of what can be made with the technique I taught them, I made this 'River' bracelet and ring. 

'River' - upside down

River has a double glass button clasp.

'River' - ring
I was  pretty happy with the result. And my students were happy with theirs. And now I am in search of a place where to continue the adventure of beading all together. My ergotherapist herself is hooked too, and helping me. She will arrange for another place to visit in February, which is not soon enough, but alas, at least there is hope! And it is so close to my home that I should be able to go there by foot. Please, cross your fingers for me!

Now, after completing this piece, I decided to go for a special freeform peyote cuff, inspired by the art of Kitsugi, which is the art of repairing cracks in broken pottery by adding gold to focus the attention on the breach, and the story behind it. To make an item that was already something dear to our heart a piece of art, with more significance. 

I have been wanting to create a cuff like this since a long time. With beautiful materials.

My goal was to make an allegory of a walk of life, with its moments of darkness and light...
with stellar people met, and key moments, be they good or bad, and light passing through all the cracks.

I let my needle and beads take some initiatives and ...

it ended up becoming the Universe... Initially, moon and sun were not meant to be there (and finding the sun button was quite challenging), but the piece simply called for both to be there. 

Also, the moon, reversible, is black on the other side, which allows me to wear it with its bright or dark side to the front.

'Silver Lining' - precious metal seed beads, freshwater pearls, sterling silver
findings, a glass moon bead and a gold plated metallic sun button.

Apparently, when I do freeform, my love for nature makes me create landscapes of all sorts.

There are lots of tutorials and explanations out there to do freeform peyote. I hope that you will give it a try. It is very liberating!
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Except for the Fake website warning (annoying but necessary, and proof that interaction is vital), it's been quite a while since I wrote my last article, and I have lots of things to tell, and they are all happy things! (Note for those who might wonder: I leave the mean stuff out: you and I don't need negativity in our lives, and I refuse to waste my super precious time writing more than one sentence, and that is this one, about people I don't want to see, hear or deal with anymore).

First, let me share my happiness with you, for being a gold-gold-silver medalist in this year's Fire Mountain Gems beading contest! Yeehaw!

This is the dream trio:

Takato, Spirit of the Goldfish, got a beautiful second place in their purses category
Anthea's Tiara and earrings got a first place in the jewelry set category, and
Octavio the Octopus got a gold medal in the sculpture category.

If you follow the links above, you will learn more about each piece,
the making of and/or the inspiration behind each piece.

But there is more to all the above pieces than winning a medal: they are all representative of my 3 Facebook groups - 3 groups where I share what I love most about beading: beading itself, 3D peyote stitch with or without Cellini, lots of colors, a lot of interaction, mutual support and encouragement. "Bringing beadworkers together", which is the motto of the Beadworkers Guild, of which I am a proud member.

Takato was made using petals for his face and fantail. 3D Petals and pods are taught in  the "From Petal to Pod" group. You are welcome to join.

Some of the creations made by the members of the Petal to Pod group
I still have tons of ideas for the petals. I wish that I had more hands!

Octavio was made using my latest 3D Cellini peyote tulip design and has Cellini herringbone arms, and you can learn Cellini peyote and many of its applications in the "Cellini Peyote Freaks" group, including Bolas Canastas. It is a great design to play with and take further.

Some of my bolas. Somebody on FB said "Barbapapa".
Barbapapa Bolas would have been a super name too!

Katerina Bacikova from the Czech Republic wrote instructions in Czech for the readers of the magazine Koralki how to create her Bolas Canastas necklace. Can you spot it?

Basic instructions how to make Bolas Canastas should also soon be available on Preciosa Ornela's website.

Anthea's Tiara was created with the colorful Yukka Flowers created within the framework of last year's year-long-bead-along in the International Beading Week group. And the bezel at the top of the piece, the Cellini peyote Bezel, gave birth to the Bolas Canastas (as explained in my article about the tiara).

Official banner of International Beading Week

You can still participate in this year long bead along! Just ask to join and bead one component each month in the monthly color (you can catch up the 3 past months progressively) and at the end of the year, we all assemble our components to make a fabulous rainbow!

My IBW year long bead along Bolas Canastas.

In the Cellini Peyote Freaks group, you can participate in the COLOR CHALLENGES. There will be 3 challenges, and the first, which has already started, will end on the 31st of December. A draw will designate 2 winners among those who challenge themselves to participate in these challenges and THIS is what the lucky ones will win:

5 Tidy Rings (only 3 shown)
A wonderful pack of beads and the amazing book "Story of Czech Seed beads" 

The book included in the prize lot offered by the wonderful folks of Preciosa Ornela is a very special and beautiful book. I made a short video to present it to you:

Book - Story of Czech Seed beads - YouTube

Now something very important and new for me, that took quite a bit of my time to organize, but how worthy it was! I gave my first introduction to beading workshop to a group of ladies who had never ever done it before. It was in the framework of the art-therapy class of my ergotherapist - we had two 2.5 hour sessions. The aim was to see if the participants would like this activity, and at the same time to see if I could teach to completely newbies, and if the lack of light in the room would be a problem for the students - it was not as long as they had their lamps and I wasn't exposed to said lamps. The ladies all loved it, I loved it, and the ergotherapist loved it. Even she wants to bead on! I have no photo of this event - because a therapist cannot disclose the identity of the patients. But it was lovely. I am very proud. We all had a very good time, all wish to continue beading, and we can't wait to meet again!

Now I need to find a place where we can all meet on a regular, not therapy-related basis and where the lights won't bother me. I welcome your wishes of good luck, fingers crossed and good vibes, for it is not easy to find a place in my region, and if you can, please visit my shop and buy a few patterns to support me. 

In French, a workshop is called an "Atelier", and so I will call it my "Cathelier". 

Use coupon code CATHELIER to get 25% off of all patterns - valid only on my website until 30.11.2018 (not on Etsy).

Thank you for your support and for beading with me! 


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This is a very important warning. It appears that many, many Etsy vendors, be it beading artists, designers, sellers of items to make jewelry and more, discovered this week that a hacker, or maybe a group of hackers, has created websites using their photos, listings and every little detail about their artwork, to create fake shops. They seem to have abused Etsy's database by passing via their statistics system. Everything is cheaper on these websites, but it are fake websites. You think that you will receive patterns or findings or crystals for half the price or even less, but in fact, you are buying wind. All they're after is your hard-earned money, and your credit card details.

Sofar, 7 sites, which are craft-oriented, have been spotted. If you buy from those sites, your credit card info and paypal ID will be known (and probably stolen) by the site, you will pay for your purchase but will never get what you paid for.

These are the sites we could identify as frauds - but please note that they can multiply and be copied in just hours with a new name, so please read on:


Beware of where you buy your supplies and patterns. We artists only sell on well known platforms, not on strangely named websites. I only sell on https://caththomasdesigns.indiemade.com/ and on https://www.etsy.com/shop/SamohtaC. If you see a pattern sold elsewhere, it is a scam. So be careful: these fraudulent websites are after your $, your credit card nr. and other payment ID.

Fellow bead artist and designer Katie Dean​ wrote a good article how to spot these sites.

And should you already have bought something from a site like this, it would be better to change your ID and passwords immediately for PayPal and possibly warn them, and Visa.

If you wish to learn more about spotting fake websites, this article should help you.

Now to finish this article on a less unpleasant note: this proves, once again, that it is better to buy directly from us, artists. We work hard for you to have fun beading, and we need your support, because if you don't buy from us, we will disappear. Don't buy from impostors.

See Katie Dean's brilliant Beading Patterns Directory for Legitimate Shops. This Directory shows the names and website of the shop of reliable designers. Have your shop added to that list if you are a designer, buy from these shops to be sure that you are buying from a Legitimate source.

And if you get patterns for free (we know that people share a lot without afterthought) but appear to like it and bead it or use it to learn, please come to our websites, and buy it to make things good again.
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Except on paper (sketching), I had never beaded in my bedroom. But last Monday (October 9th 2017). I decided to go there for it is the only quiet place to film a video explaining how to do fast peyote with increases, using two threads. I talked about this method on Facebook, and one of my beady friends said that she was waiting for somebody to show it to her for she didn't get it right. So I thought that it would be nice to show it to all. It is a cool, fast method, and spares the tendons.

Fast Peyote with Increases - YouTube

You'll see that I am far from being a pro at making videos. There are a couple of big sighs in it, because I have difficulties saying things right - I've always had, also in writing: I often say later what should come first, and vice versa. I also tend to mix up 'stitch-string-add' etc. Because of fibro, I forget to mention things I wanted to mention... and count the beads more times than shown in the video. This results in a lot of editing in both writing and filming. I hope that you will understand it despite the little cuts.

I am happy with the sound from an avian point of view. My first attempt to film this technique was ruined by a lovely, but deafening Figaro. I love my birds and Figaro and Charly are no exception, but they are noisy beasts. Seeing that I can't ask them to shut up, the bedroom appears to be the right place. It is actually really odd to not hear them at all when I am not talking. Next time I think that I'll leave the door open to at least hear them a little bit. I miss them :D

Figaro, Fluff' the Puff', and Miss White, sun bathing.

They are quiet at night, but then I still can't film because I'd need spots and those of you who know me, know that I can't use spots - also not for photography. The natural light in the bed room appears to be good enough - there is a huge window, letting lots of light enter the room without direct sun light.

Now there must be a fire polished bead somewhere in a corner of the room, because I am sure that I heard it fall. It makes a different sound than a seed bead, and seeing that I was adding those lovely faceted bead to the belly of my fish, there were FP on the BOI-board.

So now you may ask what fish?

May I present to you Takato, named after his 22cm real-life model, a big oranda living with us:

Takato and Takato
It is a purse that came together completely naturally. I had a little purse that I kept in my stash to reuse to make this fish. It had a very precise idea in mind since I wrote the book Diamond Weave (DW) but never got to make it. Then one day I saw Julia Turova's beautiful bead-knitted frog and it reminded me of my project.

I didn't want to bead crochet or knit. I wanted to use the beautiful pattern I imagined with the Diamond Weave Chinese Coin Motif stitch (variation 10 with Thread Cover Beads - TCB) for the back of the purse. It was a difficult project, but with plenty of "luck" - many things were made without having to undo or redo them, like the fish butt. I can't believe that I made it right immediately, because I actually was like "OMG how am I going to join it all and give that fish a nice shape? And there, a petal initially made for the gill plates that was too small got transformed into a "butt", which even appeared to be the perfect support for the tail. I call this beading with the Universe. Ask and you are answered. The next petals that I made for the gill plates were again too small, so I kept them for the tail. I really had many "how could I do this, improve that", and each time I asked myself, the answer came like magic. Everything fell in place better than I could have imagined. For those who wonder, petals are a two-increase form that is a very versatile component, The free tutorial can be downloaded by those who are part of my "From Petal to Pod Group" on Facebook - if you want to be part of the group, please drop me a note.

The head, tail and gill plates are peyote petals. The pectoral fins are pear-shaped peyote, based on a Monte Carlo Bracelet (a design by Gerlinde Lenz tutified by me at her demand), the pelvic fins and dorsal fin are made with herringbone with increases and last but not least, the tiny little anal fin was made with brick stitch. The bezels around the eyes were made with circular peyote.

I also used Diamond Weave in full hexagonal variation no. 3 with TCB - for the belly, which I embellished with a myriad of fire polished beads (which was something I had the feeling it was begging for repeatedly, lol).

Beading this purse was something awesome. I posted in-progress photos on FB and had a myriad of encouragements, which I appreciated very much. It helped keeping the motivation up. It took

11 days of intensive beading
2 days of forced rest, a bit of physio
Orange AB seed beads size 11/0 - 24g.
Red AB seed beads size 11/0 - 21g.
Topaz AB seed beads size 11/0 - 14g.
Dark gold permanent finish seed beads size 11/0 - 12g,
less than 1 g. coral lined size 15/0
less than 1g. 24Kt gold plated size 15/0
2 glass cabs
1 permanent marker, black
1 red coin purse
3 needles (size 11, 12 and 15)
1 bobbin of Hana thread "Gold Fish"

And voilà!

With the left over beads I am thinking of beading a lanyard - for the purse frame has some sort of loop for that, a chain tab. But I have to go back to work and write tutorials to add to my shop, for I need to feed my other (real) pets. Did you see that I listed the tutorial for the Pinwheel cuff, and another tutorial for a pretty, dainty bracelet, "Florets"? It is made with the same DW variation as used for the belly of the fish. So fast to make, it will knock your socks off.

I hope to do a tutorial for this, when my video skills and illustration software will have improved, for that are actually the reasons why this and some other designs are still not tutified - like the Samurai Pod and other 3D things. Working hard on it, and the video about fast peyote is part of the learning process.


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You may have noticed by now that I am a Cellini Peyote freak. And a pearl aficionada. My moto could be

"If it ain't got pearls, it's got to have swirls."

Because I love pearls too. I love to use them together.

Cosmic Spiral (not Cellini peyote, but it's got pearls and swirls)
After coming up with the dimensional Cellini peyote shapes within the framework of my 'Waves and Flames' study, I asked you, people of Planet Bead, if I should make a tut for each  or for all, and if I should create a group on Facebook where to share ideas and many answered that you wanted "all". Of course!

Lotus Bangle, Mermaid Tails,
Parrot earrings, Precious
Pomanderand Tulip Tassel
"Open Heart" - pendant, earrings,
bracelet and necklace
So I made nearly all the tutorials, individually, and also listed them as bundles: duos, a trio and  a quintet for the pieces I made with the 'Flames start; and 1 tutorial for several designs made with the 'waves' start.
I haven't made tuts for everything yet, but I have created the proposed Facebook group, to share ideas with like-minded beaders, who love this stitch too: the "Cellini Peyote Freaks" group. You are welcome to join.

'Waves and Flames, unfinished'
In this group you will find my paper about the principles of the "Waves and Flames" start, including guidelines to make a "Waves and Flames, unfinished" bangle. If you are not into Facebook, you can send me an e-mail via my website to ask for it.

To have something new to photograph for the banner of the group, I beaded up something swirly, of course: a Cellini bezel, which became a beaded bead.

The Cellini bezel is an old idea, left in a drawer, which I took out for the pink ice CZ in Anthea's Tiara - I wanted the bezel to match the Yukka Flowers. It is based on diagonal peyote.

Pink Ice cubic zirconia on top of Anthea's Tiara

And as explained in my previous post, this gave me the idea to make a gigantic bezel for a tape measure.

Cellini Measure Tape
My first try was not what I wanted for the tape measure and so it became a beaded bead.

Because of its resemblance with Mexican woven basketry (canastas), I called it Bola Canastas. 
It provoked something inside of me. Something I cannot explain in words, but these bolas are addictive. I made more. 
And more.
And more!

Rounder, longer, double etc. 

It's so much fun.

Because I have to take a break to rest my arms, instead of adding this to my pile of stuff to tutify, I posted a short, pretty bad video in the group, to show the beady world how to do it. It's just a technical trick... Amazingly, many beaders got instantly hooked too. Enthusiasm is infectious! I love that. But my video was unclear, so I made a graph and a new video, which you can watch here too:

How to make Bolas Canastas by Cath Thomas - YouTube

In the Cellini group, many members seem to actually never have done Cellini, so I created class rooms and made the first graphs for 2 basic techniques, so that they can get started. There is still more to do. It's a nice place, with advanced beaders and beginners, and members are helping one another. Isn't that awesome?

Interaction with other beaders is what I love most. It is what keeps me going and writing patterns and inventing new designs. "Drink me" will probably be a tutorial (perhaps the tape measure too!). Perhaps even a kit, but I will have to find a better quality tassel.

Unfortunately for my arms, all this provoked massive tendon-overload, so now that my video is up, and you beady peeps can fly, I am going to slow down the pace, and thus...

I need help

I need a little help in the group. Thankfully Elisanne M. McCutchen joined nearly immediately as Admin. I am so grateful for her help. But we need moderators. So if you have a passion for beading, are inclined to help fellow beaders, and know Cellini peyote, maybe you will like to help moderate the group? It's not complicated: approving (sometimes rejecting) new membership requests, help newbies finding this or that information and perhaps delete a post that is off-topic.

My dream team would be composed of one more person in the Americas, two from the East (Asian, Australian), one or two more from Europe / South-Africa (or anywhere in between) and a Russian and a person from the Middle East. That would really be awesome. One instead of two would already be awesome, but you've got to aim for the moon to land among the stars, as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said so well.

Enter the rabbit hole. Let's celebrate Cellini peyote together.

Thank you!!


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Beading is important in my life, so I am a proud IBW ambassador. IBW means International Beading Week. It takes place the first week of August every year and is meant to bring beadworkers together, to celebrate and promote beading to a wider public. IBW started as NBW, National Beading Week in the UK, under the flag of the Beadworkers Guild, a registered charity dedicated to supporting and promoting the art of beadweaving and is open to beadworkers and bead artists everywhere.

In the IBW Facebook group managed by moi, to have some fun in between last year's and this year's events, several members participated in a year-long-bead-along, e.g. making each month one component in the color of the IBW banner, and assemble it during this Beading Week.

All 9 Yukka flowers, in company of the pentabezels

I made two designs, one with pentabezels for the Meryl bracelet, which you can learn in the  Facebook group during beading week (you can still join and participate), and one with the Yukka flowers.

Here are the marvelous pieces made by the designers who participated:

Karan Parker made a unique design and covered one of her friends with hugs and kisses - in the IBW FB group you will see how amazing the necklace looks on her.
Coral Johnson also had an awesome idea: she made 12 beautiful twisted triangles (a June Huber design), to make a mobile with them!
Teresa Shelton made her own design, the "Sawblade Bangle" using her astonishing folded triangles.
Erin Markowitz made a gorgeous rainbow garden. She used the explanations from the Petal to Pod document to make little leaves for nearly all the components she designed for her necklace. I think that it looks like a paradise!
Amanda Cape-Davis took a very unique take on a design by Marsha Wiest-Hines - Lilac blossoms, by using a base color and adding each month flowers to it with a color from the rainbow. Something very special and beautiful.
Beth Clark made a beautiful collection of beaded beads in delicious neon colors and sent all her beads to participate in the IBW 2018 draw, and become part of the big Beadworkers Guild collection. Knowing that my own beaded bead is there now too, maybe sandwiched by hers, puts a big smile on my face.
and yours truly made a tiara (I describe the making of this piece in this article about the inspiration behind it).

My compliments to all the participants!!! Thank you for participating!

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