Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bead Soup

Another Bead Soup Party is in the works. Click on the photo for details at Lori Anderson's site. The last Bead Soup I wanted to join, but when I started looking at the beads others were planning to swap, I became a little too intimidated. Now that I have more experience with polymer clay, PMC, bead weaving, wire working, etc., I figure I can handle anything. I'm already getting some ideas for what I need to put together as my package for the swap.  Come and join the party!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Its almost time

It is almost time for peach season.  I can't wait for homemade peach icecream at the orchard and bags of peaches from the stand.  By mid-May Morven, Georgia should be crowning a new Peach Festival queen.  The plant in the lower right foreground is a Lady Banks rose.  They just finished blooming here.  This photo is from the end of July a few years ago.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Juicy lampwork

Kids say the craziest things

Madame G., the from France French teacher burst into my room after school this afternoon.  I was chatting with a former student who really came by to make-up an exam with the teacher next door and need to wait for her to return.  Madame told us of the incident which had just occurred. Two students, one being paid by the school to tutor another were supposed to be studying in a room in a distant part of the building.  When she went to check on them, the tutee was not prepared for the tutoring session.  She bristled and went to get a book from her classroom.  When she returned and handed the sweet young man a book to use he told her, "wouldnt it be easier just to pass me?"

Some nerve.  Fortunately for me, her ire caused her to break out a box of delicious chocolates (she is the French teacher) and pass them around to us as she fumed an got very red in the face. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Qué bella es la vida

I made this bracelet today at a workshop in Havana, Florida.  Paula Kroft taught the class and her daughter Stacey made the lampwork beads.  You can find them at One Sweet Bead in Orlando, Florida.  They have fabulously juicy tumbled sea glass beads and beautiful hammered glass beads, plus Stacey's lampwork, and all kinds of silver clay, copper clay,  and bronze clay pieces by Paula.  Metal clay and lampwork classes are offered through the website.  Paula's blog with the show schedule is Bluejack Oak.

Paula has got to be one of the best instructors I have met.  She outlined the entire project, explaining the reasons for each step, gave tips about the materials and tools, and did this all in the first few minutes of class so that it didn't at all feel as if she were keeping us from the project.  When we started she paid careful attention to the consistency of our clay, how long we were holding it in our hands, and how we were cutting it.  I was so impressed with how much confidence I gained in a short period of time.  I had loads of questions and she and Stacey answered everything for me.  Now I just need to carve out some time to take out the pack of clay and get to work.

I made the round links, the story bar, and the heart charm.  I strung #15/0 seed beads with sterling silver, crazy lace agate, and Stacey's lampwork beads.  These pics don't even come close to showing the amazing depth of colors in the swirls of the glass.  They are also not round, but look almost faceted.

such a bad picture, but the best I could do with little sun

Posted by PicasaThe spacer beads are blue crazy lace agate and 3mm silver balls.  Yes, there are two clasps on this because the beaded band is interchangeable.  I already know I'm going to be making some bead woven band. I can feel those seed beads calling.  I think that the lampwork beads are actually a bit too big for the piece and will go to their own bracelet.  Paula said as much before I decided I had to have them,  but what the heck, they are so beautiful in person and I'll make an awsome piece where they can shine on there own.  I'll make the rest of Qué bella es la vida with more agate which has wonderful white swirls in it and reminds me of high clouds on a sunny day.  Perfect.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

These feet

My bead love extends from my head to my toes. My beaded sandals took a tour of Cleveland last summer and this spring they are traveling here and there with me, but they have company. Donald Pliner has tons of beaded shoes and sandals in his collection:  beaded loafer, beaded platform sandal, beaded slide, beaded thong, red thong.  I love the poppy platforms.  Right now I will stick to my old friends, unless I magically clear $260 in sales.  When my students saw me in my beaded sandals for the first time this season they exclaimed, "OMG, you even have beads on your shoes."  I am interested in trying out bead embroidery so that I can embellish some of my sandals.  You can see that I have bunions and flipper feet which is one of the reasons that I find being able to wear sandals year-round the best feature of life here in SoGa.  The second photo is a much more flattering angle for my tootsies.

On the edge of the Cleveland Museum of Art lagoon

At the top of the Garfield Monument

I am planning to head to Havana, Florida for a PMC (precious metal clay) class.  I finally signed up for a class which is being taught at the Down the Street Bead Show.  Unfortunately it is held outdoors under a tent and today we are having thunderstorms.  I have my fingers crossed that they have a floor for the tent and that the rain clears. Papi and the dogs will be left alone here in Q'town to fend for themselves for the day, but I know that he has plenty on his to-do list - both real and imagined.

Since the carpenter bee invasion, Papi has been obsessed with the thought that the bees might have gotten into some tiny crack in the house or through the foundation vent holes and are busy excavating tunnels and installing their queens right this very minute.  Life with an ocd spouse can be very interesting (and sometimes entertaining).  The other day I watched as he straightened out a throw rug in the bathroom so that it was perfectly aligned with the grout lines on the tile floor.  Naturally it took him a little bit, probably because he felt the need to count how many squares away from the tub and how many squares away from the wall he was placing the rug, and I noticed that the floor really needed to be swept and/or mopped.  When I suggested that the dirty floor might be a problem for him he just laughed, "no, that doesn't bother me; I just want to get this rug in the right place." 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Most requested intellectual property

 the colors are better in a photo below

I made this, the Illusion bracelet designed by Julie Ann Smith, from one of Beading Daily's free projects.  Every time I wear it someone wants to buy it so I need to check into what sort of licensing agreement, if any, there is before I go and stitch any more.  Right now I have out pattern paper and am working on some original designs.  I certainly would not want others taking my designs to sell without purchasing or getting permission from me (and let's hope I create some good enough that others will want them). 

 eeck! the thread really isn't visible to the naked eye...better buy a thread burner

this is the best shot of the actual colors...I really need to deshed this piece

Yesterday I consigned a sterling silver and larimar crazy lace agate wirework bracelet to a gallery/shop in Thomasville.  It was made from a pattern I learned at a workshop last spring and the artist said to me, "Sell it.  Make lots and sell them."  But when I was looking for some patterns to buy in order to get more practice with a few different stitches and explore the design possibilities (and entirely for personal use), I ran across artists who sold with the agreement that you could not even photograph and post a pic of the work on your own webpage, let alone make one for you friend, or sell it. I really do completely understand the reason behind this, but the language was so off-putting that I went and looked, and bought at another place.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Birds & Bees

Sunday Papi was watching a red-breasted robin in the grass. He wandered into the master bath where some full-length windows afforded him a better view and sat on my exercise ball which was in the giant, jetted British racing green bathtub.  The robin, he told me, had been jumping around in the grass since he mowed the lawn, and now it was just sitting there.  He was worried it was injured.

Ian & Emma in the bubbles

While Papi was watching for signs of health from the robin**, he spotted some dust outside floating down from the top of the window.  We looked down and there was a pile of sawdust on the windowsill.  What the heck?!  Like the Indian tracker he must have been in a previous life, Papi listened to the sun, tasted the wind, smelled the clouds, and heard the sound of wings flapping.  Sure enough he located  two round concave excavations in the casing and a crazy dinosaur of a bee that was making them.  He silently shushed me and we heard the scratchy, scratchy, crunchy, crunchy of a bee eating our house.

The wait for the exterminator to arrive was brief.  He came the next morning and wanted to get a look by 9:00 AM when the bulls get active.  He informed me that we have carpenter bees and the big brute I saw is the bull bee.  He will put a queen down into the tunnel that he is trying to dig.  For a few minutes we were rather worried because we could not find any tunnels anywhere else, but Papi's tracking kicked in and he found they had eaten into some saw horses in the car port and some supposedly pressure treated wood used the hang the gutters.  Carpenter bees will destroy a house faster and do more damage than termites according to Q'town's own Superior Exterminators.  I was happy we got this latest nuisance under control and now are armed and ready to do battle next year.

That fuzzy bee I followed around and photographed two weeks ago was probably a carpenter bee.  They gather pollen and deposit it with their eggs in their tunnels.  They don't make honey, but they do attract woodpeckers.  A badly infested structure will be terribly undermined, literally, by the tunnels, and when the woodpeckers come they can peck it apart.  When the azaleas bloom we need to start looking for bees.  In June, just when it is too late to trim azaleas if we want blossoms the next year, the bees will disappear into their nests and not come out until the following spring.

**Even though Papi didn't believe that I saw the robin hop across the yard and return to the exact same spot, I know that crazy bird was fine because the next afternoon, after vacating his post for an entire day, he was back again sitting in the grass outside the bathroom window.  I suspect there is some insect or another that he is after.  But that will be a battle for another day.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

and the bees

Yesterday after I took pictures of the Medina Bird, I took some photos of the yard.  The camellias are still blooming, the azaleas have gone crazy, and the wisteria is in full bloom.  I love the wisteria when it is flowering, but really it is a weed here in the yard.  We spend hours x 100 trying to get it out of the other shrubs and bushes.  Yet for a few brief weeks it is lovely.

I found a bee busy pollinating the azaleas.  Papi swears that the azaleas change colors each year, but after eight years I am not convinced.  Who really knows what the bees do because the pollen is so thick here that car washes advertise: Is your car really yellow?  You can see some of the powdery film still on the leaves below, but that is really nothing because it is what is left after a day of torrential downpours.

Medina bird

2700 size 11/0 delicas...and more dog hair than I would have liked.  This pattern was designed for loomwork, but I square stitched it.  About 2/3 of the way through I discovered two-bead square stitch which would have made the work go a bit faster, but I didn't want to change the spacing.  Oh well, next time.  Being a beginner has its drawbacks. 

I learned a lot about needle and thread size on this project.  I realized that I should have been using a size smaller needle and probably size B Nymo instead of size D.  It took breaking a couple beads to come to this conclusion.  For this project, I did switch needles to John James sharps and I love them.  They last a long time and do not bend and break like the cheapo needles I was using from the big-box craft store. 

I also realized that I should have returned the Transparent Rainbow Inside Color Lined Candle Lit White (those would be the lightest color beads which form the thick scroll at the bottom) because even though these little guys are Delicas, this batch was just the slightest bit larger in diameter.  I didn't think that it would make a difference, but I can tell, particularly in the bird's eye and the scrollwork around the bird's tail.

The pattern is Medina Bird from  I changed the clasp by square stitching two rows of beads for the base of each strappy thing to give a little more heft.  If you want to make this, don't buy the quantities they suggest.  Buy one bag of each color. That is all I needed and I have left overs of each color.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wash me

I just picked up my little dogs from the groomer.  Mostly they were there because it takes most of the day to wash and brush them both, and even the groomer sends them home still shedding out undercoat.  They arrived just in time for dinner, but first each had to spend a good five minutes rolling around on the floor trying to reacquire some dog scent.  Coltrane needed to thoroughly inspect Mingus, first smelling inside each ear, then going for some butt sniffing, just in case I brought home the wrong brother.  Mingus was very singleminded as it was five o'clock: d-i-n-n-e-r.  Now that he has eaten, he is settled in beside my chair looking just a bit nervous because it has started to thunder.  Poor baby.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Let sleeping dogs lie

Tuesday I walked into the office and found all my guys napping in a dog pile on the futon.

Yesterday I was explaining to someone at work how I feel terrible that when I come home from work all I want is quiet and I don't want to talk or listen to any one.  He likes to come home and tell me all about everything.  Last week he finished tutoring at the high school.  He had come to understand why I was always so tired after I got home from work.  On the days he tutored, he would take a nap after work.  Today he started tutoring at the middle school.  He walked in the door an announced that no one could make a fucking sound for the next two hours.  He didn't want to hear anything, and he thought that when he started teaching full-time that we should buy a house in the middle of nowhere.  I told him Quitman already was mid. o'nowhere, but he disagrees because he still can catch snatches of playing from  the well-behaved children next door. 

Oh, what a glorious day.  My husband understands me so much better than yesterday.  And it turns out that he also realizes that I am a saint and possess unending patience to have quietly suffered all this time.