Saturday, December 11, 2010

It's a marshmallow world

We don't have any snow here, but I like to imagine what my little corgi boys would do in the snow.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Necklace Giveaway

Lori Anderson of Pretty Things is giving away a necklace she made for a swap from reworking a piece by Johanna Rhodes of Fire Phoenix Creations.

Take a look at this beauty.  You have until a bit before 2 PM on Friday, December 10th to enter.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What do you do with the ends of your thread?

3-link pointed oval chain
I have been working on a custom order piece this week, but took some time out to play with the pointed oval from Diane Fitzgerald's book Shaped Beadwork.  I made this little chain as well as an embellished link.  I used Fireline and Toho Treasures.  A thread burner is on my wish list, but in the meantime I've been playing around with various methods of achieving the same result.  I've heated a metal skewer, a toothpick, and tried using an old heated eyelash curler.  Nothing really worked.  I did not, however, melt my cord ends with a lighter as suggested in Shaped Beadwork.  Just thinking about this gave me anxiety.  What do you do with the ends of your threads after you cut them?  Should I shell out the $25 for a thread burner?  Do you have a better way?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Margie and Me Mosaic of Color Challenge

I worked on a beaded bead tutorial for my Mosaic of Color challenge piece.  For loads of details hop over to La Bella Joya.  This week's challenge was to use either the color palette or the feel of the theme inspiration:
I tried to get a little of each in my beads.  I wanted to include the cobalt and a hint of green, but everything started to get a little crazy with too many colors.  I do a bit better when I work with a limited palette.  Maybe I just like playing with shape and texture?  I really love to wear many colors, but like to work with as few as possible.
These beaded beads started on 10mm stone rounds.  The pattern tutorial is by Quimeras de Náyades and can be found at her Etsy.  If you look at the bead she shows you will wonder why my beaded beads look different.  No, it rally is the pattern I used, but I added an extra layer of beads to each vertices in the dodecahedron.  Quimeras shows this in the tutorial, but not in the pictures.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

flat netting
I have been beading, but not taking pictures as often as I need to do.  The time change poses a problem for catching the light at the right time.  I'm getting too many shadows now at the usual time I wander out to take pictures.  I ran out and realized that I was about 20 minutes past the last good light.  But, oh well, I grabbed some shots anyhow.

I tried out flat netting a few weeks ago.  I made a very simple bright red cuff with large toggles.  One of the young ladies who has been in my class since last year (Spanish 1 [which I no longer teach] and Spanish 2) caught sight of it, grabbed my wrist, and declared that she liked this one the best of all she had seen.  I'm not sure I agree, but it was fun to flat net.
two colors of 11/o Czech's and some vintage pressed glass flowers
I love the texture of the fabric and the way the pearl finish beads play against the matte finish beads.
netting works up quickly - next to try some netting layered over another base to give it a bit of substance
I also tried a RAW pattern from the French designer Mu whose site I cannot find to add the link.  This one uses 6/o's and 15/o's.  I added a giant vintage button and a handmade steel hook for a closure.
bracelets mingling
the button is quite a bit more blue in person

Finally, a little bit of flower power and corgi cuteness...
The neighbors's cat
I don't remember her name.  I just call her Sombracita - little shadow - because she chases after us when we walk.

Mingus and the neighbors' cat.
The black kitty runs from her house when she sees us in the morning.  Coltrane and Mingus are always excited to see her and won't move until she crosses the street to greet them.  Then they promptly ignore her.  When we are on the walk back home she hides behind a shrub or in the shadows (we walk before 6AM), and jumps out at them.  Usually I see her hide while the boys are busy sniffing everything, but sometimes she manages to scare me too.  This was a rare weekend morning when she laid herself out on the sidewalk in Mingus's path and demanded attention.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


little fountain on my street in Georgia
plaza fountain in Santiago near Monterrey, Mexico

When the ladies of the Garden Club put up the fountain on my street I could not believe my eyes.  It was a mini-me for the fountain I had seen in Mexico a few years ago.  There is another larger fountain in my tiny town right in front of the courthouse.  I think it has been dry for quite some time.  The little fountain which I walk past every day on my dog walk has just been restocked with fish.  

Saturday, November 20, 2010

kumi's got me

I've been kumi crazy all week.  Actually I'm working on just one thing, but because I've been super sleepy this week, I only proceed about 45 min. at a time.  I have had this gorgeous lampwork focal by Juls Cannon for a few months and I finally figured out what I wanted to do with it.  I decided that some little seed beads I had would really bring out the greens and blues in the lampwork, and I set out to make a kumihimo strand on which to feature the bead.
the Aurora Borealis focal bead from Juls
I strung 13 ounces of copper lined aqua 11/o beads onto 8 lb. Fireline and set up my kumi disc.  This sounds like something that can happen lickety split, but in actuality, it took two days (aka 1 1/2 hours when your working day is only 45 min.).  Having no bobbins around which to wind the 64 feet of Fireline I pulled off of the roll, I folded index cards and cut notches to keep all the line in check, but also allow for easy unrolling to extend length as I went.  I thought about running to the drug store and searching for some pink foam hair rollers, but I decided I'd better invest my $ in real bobbins.
My beads are actually a bit lighter in color.  
At first I thought that the index cards would grab each other and not work, but they didn't pose any problem.  So finally I had eight 8 foot long strands of Fireline laden with 11/o beads.  I started braiding and when I began to add beads I thought perhaps the endeavor was turning out to be a disaster.  I got about 3 inches into it (this is slow going - but to me who is used to working wide peyote bands, it seems pretty quick) and put it down for the evening feeling deflated.  My fingers were having a hard time grabbing the line and it was difficult to see if the the 11/o beads were really under the line in each pass.  I was feeling as if the fun had gone out of it.
Kumi mobile

The next evening I put on my big girl skirt and picked up the disc again.  This time I actually put on my glasses and thought about the dilemma.  I adjusted the weight at the end of the braid and whipped out another few inches.  Huh!?  I actually liked what I was getting.  Although I know next to nothing about that I'm doing, I do know that the weight on the braid and the counterweight on each of the lines will change to look of the braid.  So on I went.  I've gotten to the point where I will run out of beads.  Today I have to do that most dangerous thing - go on-line and place a bead order.  I need all the self control I can muster! far...

This is 29 cm (11 1/2 inches) of braid.
Non-dog lovers should look away now - here is your dose of dog cuteness:
I was reading blogs and turned around to find my husband napping with the dog.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fire, smoke, daily dog cuteness

Smoke and the morning sun
I didn't have a Margie & Me piece this week, but head over to La Bella Joya's blog and see what Marcie and others have created.  When I checked on Saturday there were only a couple of links to the post, but now I see that many others have added.  And I'm totally crazy about the current inspiration, Mosaic of Color #129.

I've been nursing a cold or something related to a sinus explosion all week.  Perhaps it is a reaction to the wildfire burning through the Arabia Bay Swamp near the Okefenokee Swamp?  Swamps really are not supposed to burn, but we have had so little rain for the past few months that a good lightening storm could set all of south Georgia and north Florida ablaze.  Yesterday I heard that 867 acres had burned and all 5,000 acres of the swamp were expected to go up in flames.  Now it was raining cats and dogs when I heard this story on the radio, so I expect that they mean it.  Over the weekend, the wildfire was being described as 88% contained, but I imagine that it is now burning underground if a complete burn-off is predicted.


Between smoke blowing in from 50 miles away and the dust being kicked up from the cotton harvest and ginning, the air is filled with dust.
Smoke at the crossroads

My happy boys

Sunday, November 14, 2010

kumi-who-me? or what I did yesterday

I drove down to Havana, FLA yesterday to take a kumihimo class.  If you are anywhere in the vicinity of Tallahassee, FLA, you really need to check out the classes at Lizette's Beads.  The classes are such an incredible value and her beads, while not a huge selection, are dirt cheap.  Lizette will also order you anything you want at seriously deep discounts.  I'm putting in the big plug because I want to keep this little shop going.  Lizette's is only open on Saturday and Sunday, but you can reach her by phone anytime.  Tallahassee is also having Market  Days (big juried art & craft fair) on Dec. 3rd & 4th and you can find Lizette there.

I made a bracelet and added charms when I got home.  Of course I also strung up some C-Lon and beads to make another piece.  I had to be certain I knew what I was doing.
the little Czech glass spade bead really doesn't look quite as minty in person
why is it so hard for me to add multiple charms?  who knows the trick to getting them to hang well?
this is an 8-strand kumihimo
these are 8/0 beads on C-Lon
the peacock colored beads are just about impossible to photograph in natural light

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

más flores

ginger lily
it grows from a central thingy - sort of like a bromeliad
the last micro-flower on the Mexican heather
miniature roses bloom among the mums
pyracantha aka firethorn

rose hip which grows on a trellis with clematis
Usually I do not spray my plants with anything.  Sometimes I will spray with soapy water and garlic.  The camellias which grow in my yard, and there are dozens and dozens of bushes, are between 70 and 20 years old.  Many were planted when the house was built in 1938.  Others were added until about 16 years ago.  My neighbor propagated camellias and is very active in the local camellia society.  From my side porch I can see paper bags on her plants.  Something is going on under there.
My neighbor sits on about two acres and her lot is a wooded paradise.  It is filled with azaleas (hundreds!), camellias, ferns, hydrangea, and just about every other plant you can think of that will grow in southern shade. Dozens of bird feeders and hummingbird feeders attract all sorts of feathered creatures and the rattlesnakes and white oak snakes which like to eat their eggs.  I hope to be able to put in hydrangeas of every variety because I so admire these blooms in her yard.