Tuesday, August 1, 2017


PEACE for those with Alzheimers and for their caretakers and loved ones.  I hope one day that will be achieved.

It's been personal for us, having watched Mark's Mom DeeDee succumb to the memory loss and finally losing her life last year.  DeeDee was accomplished in so many ways and it was a painful decline. She was a young ice skating star when she gave up an Olympic opportunity to begin her family, Mark being the first of five children.  She was a skilled and prolific knitter, sewer and quilter making beautiful garments, sweaters and quilts for all of her many grand children.  She lived on a lake and raced sailboats well into her 70's.  Yet she still fell victim to the effects of this devastating disease.

In her memory and for so many others who have or will get this disease we want to improve the funding of Alzheimers research.  Last year we walked and we asked for donations and we saw people's generosity.  This year we wanted to do more so we developed a plan!

It's probably not a secret I like to bead and I like to make stuff.  I created a beaded peace sign for a friend who has collected them for years.  It seems a fitting symbol, peace in all things is a positive goal.  

I've been married to Mark for thirty years and he has a tender heart.  He wanted to help too.  So much in fact he learned to bead and he made peace signs.   

So here's our plan.

There are three ways to help and 100% of the proceeds for each of the three ways will be donated to the Alzheimers Organization.  We have supplied all the materials and time that have gone into our peace project.

We will have finished peace signs for sale in my Etsy store.  Some made be me, some made by Mark.  The money we are paid will be donated to the Alzheimers organization as we receive it.  Peace signs may or may not become an ongoing sale item in the store. If we do make more or if some are sold after the 9th, we will donate the proceeds of any peace sign sales monthly.

For those who wish to make their own peace sign there will be a downloadable tutorial available for sale in my Etsy store.  Sales well be donated as we receive them.

If you prefer to donate directly to Alzheimers research, you may donate to Team DeeDee here.  For each $10 you will be placed into a raffle to win a finished peace sign. (A $10 donation = 1 raffle chance, $20 = 2 raffle chances, etc).  We will be pulling the name of the winning entry during our walk on September 9th and notifying the winner via this blog on September 10th.   Mark picked this peace sign to raffle off.  It's one of his. Don't forget to check back on September 10th and we'll arrange for the winner to be mailed this very beautiful peace sign.

Mark made his peace sign reversible.  One side is embellished with a 2mm crystal and the other with black seed beads.  He thinks of it as having a feminine and a masculine side!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Love Letters

So after my whirlwind travel post, I've been home for awhile and this is what I've been up to.

You can read all about that project on lovebeadlove.blogspot.com !  I've had so much fun creating and embellishing these letters and from the looks of it so have others.  If you're so inclined, have a go, the letters are great fun and who can't use a little more love in their lives!

Where have I been?

I've been all over!  After leaving Nice on our November trip we continued on down the coast of Italy, up to Croatia, then Bay of Kotor, many Greek islands and finished in Athens.  Wow, that was a magical trip with so many highlights!  The Seaborne Sojourn Mediterranean cruise.

The Acropolis was amazing!  Such  presence against the blue sky.

The new Acropolis museum was so excellently curated it was quite a treat.  We spent a peaceful two days just wandering the city.

Then off to our local San Diego Airstream groups rally in Chula Vista, always a treat.

I busied myself with beading the alphabet....just because.

Next up a day trip with the grandkids to visit Disneyland....18,000 steps, this grandma was tired!

Parked in the Santa Cruz redwoods for the holidays.  I love this spot, although it can get dreary in the sunless days of winter.

So I busied myself with peace, this one is reversible and a gift for a dear friend.

Seems that LOVE is everywhere if you look close.  We got to see the Rose Bowl parade floats being built while joining another airstream rally in Pasadena.

We had front row seats for the parade and it was wonderful.  Look at this fanciful guy!

Finally some time to relax!  A moebius scarf for a friend I love. If you measure love by the number of cast off stitches this one was huge!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

IT's Nice in Nice

Yes corny I know.......we arrived in Nice France on Tuesday afternoon.  It was our job to stay up until early evening to try to minimize the effects of jet lag.  a quick shower and change of clothes and we set off to explore the city.

The weather has been an exceptional 70 degrees with gentle breezes.  We wandered through the interior streets looking to gain some euros from an ATM.  Eventually we came on a bank postale and acquired some cash with which we promptly bought our first french pastry.

While I'd love to bring you photos to go along with this blog at the moment I am technically challenged as to how to accomplish this.

So far we've had perfect weather, perfect food, great company and nice sight seeing.  We drove the coast to arrive for a visit in Cannes and a walk along the port there.

Today we'll drive to Monaco and board the Seabourn Sojourn for a 14 day Mediterranean cruise.  Hopefully there will be updates and photos!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

AND my Etsy shop is open!

Funny that all the years that Etsy has been around, I haven't been tempted.  The website was serving me well, and I was too busy to sit down and give it any attention, and then......

As we decide what our new life is going to look like I decided that the convenience of Etsy and the ability to maintain it myself would be a huge bonus.

It's not that I couldn't maintain the website, but over the years Mark took it over and it was convenient, until it wasn't.  Often I leave a show with 2 or 3 of a kit and I'd love to be able to offer them to you, but the overhead of putting it on the website and announcing it, for it to be sold out within hours, and then needing to update the website again, well, the onesie, twosies, languished.  This was too bad because there is some pretty things that I may or may not build again but that you may like.  There's also some new things, like the very pretty duomos bracelet in 7 different opal colors, and the sweet little hidden paradise vessel.

So things they are a changing here at MADDesigns.   You can find the Etsy store under MarciaDeCoster.  Since it's easy to update you will see more inventory AND as I move forward I will begin to offer some tutorials of projects that may interest you.

There's a silver version too, but I love the way these opal colors really show themselves off against the gold.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Bohemian Collection

Earlier this year Sue Burleigh of SocialBeadia asked me if I'd be interested in traveling to Prague, Vienna and Budapest and teach some of the days during the trip.  I reviewed the itinerary and yes!  this sounded like a dream travel plan.

I wanted to do something special for the those going on the trip and something that would hold my interest and be a body of work which could grow.

Last year I had played with this concept of being able to magnet together bits of beadwork, and then time got the best of me and I didn't pursue it.

Beading through Bohemia (name of the trip) gave me the perfect opportunity to revisit this idea and work out the details.  It could as easily be called the Pacific Northwest Collection as the majority of it was beaded while traveling to Seattle in our airstream.

Since Cubic Right Angle Weave is an incredibly versatile stitch, and my little signature sprocket/finial/thingy ma jig, was already designed, I decided to work out the best way to encase a magnet into the thingy ma jig and attach to the components.

Then because cubic raw can get quite structural looking and I wanted it to be Bohemian in flavor I added the whimsical romantica component, some crystals (of course) and some floral accents.

I also had the idea for each of the components, or most anyways to be reversible, doing double duty especially in color.

Since the body of work was destined to grow and I wanted to be able to wear the pieces inter-changeably I stayed within a fairly narrow color family.

I have a sketchbook full of ideas, and I've been busy beading up the different elements.  

Here you see two lengths of diamond shapes serving as a necklace.  There is an X connector so that two different dangly bits can be added.  On the left there is a double diamond connector/pendant and a teardrop fancy stone.  On the right there is an ellipse/romantica connector and a long ellipse with romantica dangle pendant.  So in total seven different pieces, all of which reverse and can do double duty in other combinations.

This center focal is a bezeled large fancy stone with a double connector to hook into the necklace and a single connector from which to extend a pendant.  In this case I've added a diamond connector and a shield pendant. Since all connectors have south magnets and all pendants have north magnets, I could just as easily add the teardrop pendant or the ellipse pendant from above.  Here the diamond connector is a little shadow box with a czech flower peeking out, and the other side is a romantica medallion.

Here I've beaded up a simple prismatic right angle weave rope and added the y connector with the double diamond, the same diamond connector as above but on the romantica medallion side, the ellipse connector and ended with the shield pendant.

Taking out the diamond connectors and shield I left the ellipse connector and added the fancy stone teardrop.

At last count I have about 7 connectors, 2 necklaces and 6 pendants.  I have not attempted to count the combinations I can create with these 16 pieces, but it's a lot!  I don't see myself stopping soon.  The beauty of this approach is that once you've established a couple of necklaces and a good number of connectors, then an afternoon of beading a pendant creates an entirely new piece.

Yesterdays reversible button pendant with a romantica medallion is my new favorite.  As I add to the collections I'll be sharing photos.  For now the work will remain exclusive for next May's Beading through Bohemia trip.  The trip is currently full but if you're interested in future trips you can find Socialbeadia here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Design Success

It's easy, really easy for me to get a bit discouraged about design productivity.  Now that I am booking less engagements there are fewer deadlines to drive the need for a design.  I thought this could be a detriment.  If I didn't have to design, would I?

It turns out as I count up this years designs, the lack of pressure was really good for my design successes.  Each of the projects developed on their own time and in time or actually ahead of schedule for their project debuts.

Last year I designed Cryptex for this years Beading by the Bay, but it was this year I perfected it, beaded two additional color ways and wrote the instructions.  It's been a fun one to see beaded.

I'm showing you Cynthia Newcomer Daniel's version here because I love the changes she made to the strap and fringe as well as her layout showing the interior of the piece.

It turns out I was on a bit of a vessel kick, making this Hidden Paradise for this years Caribbean cruise with Heather Powers.  Lifting the top reveals a sweet little tropical house that Heather makes out of Polymer clay.

Here is Gifts from the Sea using new Swarovski iridescent pearls.  This one is for next years Coastal Maine Bead Retreat.  You can read about it's design process here.  I had an inspiration photo, but along the way it morphed.

This is Wind Beneath my Wings, named by my friend Beki Haley.  It came out of my need to do more hubble stitch.  Last year's Let's Hubble book by Melanie de Miguel introduced us to this very fluid and versatile stitch.  I used it in Cryptex as well and I know I'll continue to explore it.  This one is for this year's Fall Foliage retreat.  Rumor has it there are a couple of spaces still open.

Two different Waterfall earrings came out of my experiments with splitting a cube into two cubes, a handy trick for some design considerations.  I love the long chains that spill onto my shoulders but for those who don't, any number of bottom accents can be put into that little finial at the bottom of the teardrop.  Thank you Nancy Dale for giving me the name 'finial' for this little splayed out cube that I use so often.  It's a good way to refer to it.

The most recent design this year is called the Princess Anna Pendant.  This one I love because it can go from little girl princess to womanly elegant depending on your color choices.  This one is soft and elegant.  Again a finial appears, holding the crystal at the top of this piece.  It was also the first time I used spiky buttons, a new bead shape.  The newest in the collaboration between Sabine Lippert and All Beads CZ.

For some time I've wanted to go back to exploring my beginnings with Amulet purses.  My first ever was peyote stitch, and my second was a David Chatt piece on the cover of Nicolette Stessin's Beaded Amulet Purses.  That one was quite challenging and my first introduction to right angle weave.  This one was less challenging, but did incorporate my wrong angle weave method of adding an embellishment bead while weaving the raw fabric.   You can read that here or more here.

There's one more fully developed project still under wraps, so that's 7 this year (I didn't count Cryptex) and it's only June.  What's next?  I'll be working on a process class for the Beading through Bohemia trip next May.  I have a solid concept now of what I'll be exploring, always a good first step.  Let's just say the ideas for this series kept me up thinking about them most of last night.  I just pulled a huge number of seed beads and accent beads and I can't wait to get started!

Some might say this is not retired, but I have to say, cutting back to only 4 or so engagements per year has given me time to design.  I don't think I'll be giving up on beads anytime soon.