Saturday, February 8, 2014

Chapter 2: Bead Canvas

The bracelet featured is an example of a design that was made possible by the use of the software program  "Bead Canvas."

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Many years ago when I was teaching first grade students, I wrote a book "The Bees Dilemma."  This family of bees were facing a serious problem.  A group of bears were devouring their golden honey trove.  In order to deal with this problem,  the bees visited their many friends at the zoo and posted the question, "What should we do?"

Interesting, I am now faced with a dilemma, but not nearly on such a grand scale.  I have my own honey trove of bead weaving books, looms, patterns, beads, tools, etc.  What should I blog about and where should I start?  Well, after consulting with my inner self, I have decided to begin Chapter One: "Jewelry Supply Company" at the start of this writing adventure. 

Jewelry Supply Company ( provided me with a wonderful array of 3gram tubes of  Miyuki size 11 delicas.  There are approximately 110 beads to each gram.  Their web site is a visual delight featuring beads of various shapes, sizes, finishes, and colors.  Their prices were good and much more reasonable than comparable beads at my local bead store.  They also offer a 25% discount for orders over $40.00 and if one takes advantage of the other jewelry supply items offered on their site, this expenditure can be reached in no time.

I would highly recommend Jewelry Supply Company for all my beading tools and supplies.  They certainly solved my dilemma.    





Sunday, December 29, 2013






I remember the exact day.  How could I forget?  The lottery number came in and my winnings were an unbelievable $500.00.  Also, the cat had kittens.  Their mewing woke us up.  Wild assortment of tiny pink noses and little pointed ears.


But, best of all, the wonderful book "Bead Weaving on a Loom" published by Designs Originals, and co-authored by Carol Porter and Fran Ortmeyer, came in the mail.  Although it is not a very large book, it is very thorough.  The beader is taken step by step thru all the challenging interesting phases of bead weaving.  At the beginning all materials and supplies are listed.  Naturally if one has decided to attempt the projects in this book, a loom is certainly a necessity.  The Clover Loom is the loom of choice in this publication.


The eleven projects are beautifully photographed with detailed instructions.  Once your loom is dressed, away you go on a colorful beading adventure.  Bracelets, necklaces, and earrings and additional decorative items are discussed.  All patterns are easy to follow.  One does not have to be a maven in the art of bead weaving.


The book "Bead Weaving on a Loom" takes one on a colorful and joyful exploration of creativity. 


Razine Wenneker



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Earring Style Book

 Stephanie A. Wells

 Random House

The fetching pair of earrings on the cover of this book pulled at my creative sensitivities.  My husband and I had recently returned from California.  We spent a beautiful sun-filled day at Laguna Beach.  There were many young and old people strolling the boardwalk, exercising their pets and doing all kinds of calisthenics to help keep fit and trim.  Several groups were playing sand volleyball.  Their sleek bodies glistened.  Most noticeable to me were the wonderful earrings that dangled back and forth as the players streaked across the warm sand to score their points.
The multitude of earring styles could have been inspired by this book.  All types of metal and  gemstones were incorporated into the designs.  "Penelope" featured on page 88 is a wonderful example of stones cleverly integrated.  As the author states, "the design creates a wall of color across the frame."  Chains, coiled wire, twisted wire, fabric, etc. were utilized.  The various techniques were well laid out and easy to understand.  All necessary tools and materials were listed.   Also, the author shared the approximate amount of time, ranging from 15 to 45 minutes, to construct each pair of  earrings. 

I would definitely recommend this book to any aspiring designer.  Who knows, maybe you will spy your creation framing a lovely face on a Laguna Beach sand volleyball court.  

Monday, June 10, 2013


Congratulation to Laura Showler.  She will be receiving her book shortly.  New random drawing book contest begins on June 15th and ends June 30th.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Metal Jewelry in Bloom

Melissa Cable

Kalmbach Publishing

We turned our clocks back last month. Now that I finally remember to "Spring ahead and Fall back," the task has become much easier.

Spring is in the air. The birds are chirping early in the morning. Two tiny humming birds flew into my daughter's open kitchen door the other morning. Pretzel, the frisky poodle, was mesmerized by the hovering aviators.

One of the lovely things about Spring is the wonderful smell in the air. Blossoms are beginning to emerge, poking their spindly leaves and buds thru the rain moistened soil.

Melissa Cable, in her book "Metal Jewelry in Bloom," presents us with a lovely garden of tiny delicate "how-to" flower shapes. One doesn't need rain nor fertilizer to create these blooms. She does provide us with templates and demonstrates step-by-step techniques for shaping the metal sheets into a delightful array of delicate flowers. She acquaints us with the various components of each and then recreates the flowers in metal.

One is provided with a list of tools and metal choices to facilitate your garden inventory. Determining petal shapes and then a follow-up cutting and filing lesson is presented. One can then go on to apply texture, dimension, and embellishments to the colorful garden.

All of the techniques are well documented with excellent instructions and photography. Your profusion of flowers will add a wonderful addition to your necklaces, earrings, and rings. The only element absent is the olfactory sensation.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Winning American Mah Jongg Strategies

A Guide for the Novice Player

Elaine Sandberg

Tuttle Publishing Company

I normally write craft book reviews for some major publishing companies, but when the cat is away, the mice play. I participate in social Mah Jongg games at least two times per week. The winnings from one game are contributed to a student fund at Washington University in St. Louis.

I had purchased the book "A Beginner's Guide to American Mah Jong by Elaine Sandberg a few years ago and found it most helpful. Her new book on strategies is a "thinking" person's tome.

Chapter 1 covers finding the right hand and discusses power tiles such as combinations of "pairs, pungs, kongs of any tiles, etc., including flowers and jokers." Many interesting examples are given utilizing a 2010 card. There were some minor misprints on pages 58 where there were too many craks on the rack. In addition, page 66 showed eleven hands and not seven as stated ,but I did not consider this a problem in any way.

Chapter 2 discusses the Charleston and additional decisions about what to keep and what to discard. Once again there is a summary and practice section.

Chapter 3 presents "Let the Game Begin." Now one is ready to get down to the business of "playing." Time to seriously consider discards, safe tiles, hot tiles, discards and exposures, changing the hand, if necessary, and finally what hand to choose.

No need to pull out your heavy mah jong case if you want to practice a few hands. The cardboard laminated tiles (cards) were colorful and light weight. I would highly recommend both Elaine Sandberg's newest book and her boxed mah jong game with the very useful instructions. Have game, can easily travel with no extra baggage.