I was a most fortunate woman to be able to attend the yearly retreat sponsored by my local bead society.  The Loose Bead Society is based in the Milwaukee area and has a really large membership….many that come from miles away (one would be me:-)

The retreat was held in Racine….our view was the frozen marina on Lake Michigan – dang….a pic of that would have been great fun for those of you in warmer climates so that you could share in our joy.  HA!

So – what did we do from Friday thru Sunday?  BEAD BEAD BEAD
I was fascinated to peek around at all the different projects that were being created….the energy in the room was electric and positive.  And…..by late Saturday night there was a little different feel as the bottles of beverages on the tables were being emptied.  🙂

I took two classes!  Kumihimo taught by Kathy Willmering. My past experience with beaded Kumihimo was confusing (I find it quite different from Kumihimo that uses just threads/ribbons) …..gave THAT first project to a friend to finish for me I was so frustrated.  Kathy explained everything perfectly in a way I completely understood…..YEAH!  Kumihimo is an ancient process modernized with these sweet wheel “thingies” with handy numbers to keep you on track…you prebead threads to load onto bobbins so it is very portable which I love.  I did finish this in class but forgot to take a pic….you can see a little peeking from below the wheel in the second pic tho.  Kathy has some great tutorials available in her etsy store.  Find them here  Blue Thistle Designs – Jewelry to Compliment You

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We had a fabulous Mexican themed lunch buffet which I loved since I am trying to drop a few extra pounds before Nik and Morgan get married in May – I created a wonderful salad with everything.  While fighting off my food coma my dear friend Maggie Roschyk arrived to hang for the afternoon.  I had complained to her that I needed something fantastic to hang from my earlobs for an upcoming event (I KNOW….I make earrings but I wanted something NEW)  Well….as I knew would happen, Maggie delivered!  Maggie is a great teacher with wonderful ideas and all around just fun to hang with so even tho these teenie tiny beads often drive me crazy this project was delightful….

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Especially the RESULTS!!!!! Shazaaammmm – YEAH!

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Since I knew I HAD to complete these while at the retreat and still being full from lunch I passed on dinner and like a good girl hung back and finished the second one.  WHEW!  I LOVE them!  Maggie is the owner of Free Spirit Collection – a wildly successful designer of unique and OOAK beaded jewelry supplied primarily as wholesale to galleries and boutique and even high end airport store throughout the southwest of the US.

So my final class was scheduled for 7:30-10:30 Saturday evening……good thing I was working with bright colors cause I was starting to feel my prior late night of staying up and chatting with my roomie until after 1am.  (love you Judy!) Oh BTW – my roomie creates some beautiful beaded wonders herself……Light Dance Designs  check it out!

My class was Felting with Jan Falk a retired elementary art teacher so she was able to manage her somewhat tired and punchy group very well.  SOOOOO FUN!  Starting with a ball of beautiful fluff you soak it, roll it on various surfaces and beat it into submission.  😉  Perfect for a late evening class….no bead counting!  Jan is teaching a class at this years Bead & Button Show – super felted flower…I have seen her flowers…so cool!
Fabulous Felted Flower Pin 

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I love it…..my dreadlock necklace.  I still need to thread some delicate little sparkle beads here and there in clusters to finish the necklace but I am so proud of myself!  Thank you Jan…..great job teaching me.  I had never done this before and love my results.  
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So – a huge thank you to the Loose Bead Society of Milwaukee for planning such a great weekend!  I will be back!!!  They have monthly meetings – always fun and informative.  If you live within driving distance consider joining.  I live quite a distance away so can’t make many meetings but still love being a member!
Ha….just as I was finishing my post Traci (official LBS retreat photographer) send me this pic from my felting class….Thank you Traci!  Oh…..Traci’s Bead & Button Classes…..click here to see Traci Otte B&B Classes  And, her designs/blog  Creative Pursuits  a view into Traci’s world of beading and much more.

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Have a GREAT week!!!