Sunday, May 30, 2010

Blue Moon Beaded Bead

Today is the first day of the rest of vacation.  How glorious!  The little boys let me sleep until almost 7 AM (I think the fact that the birds are quiet because it is rather overcast and drizzly outside fooled them into letting me sleep.  I am thankful for small favors and precious moments of sleep.  Yesterday, Saturday, was still an up-at-5-AM because I needed to make the big drive to the graduation ceremony.  Although it got into the 90's by 10 AM, while the faculty was laid out in neat rows on the football field side lines we were treated to a slight breeze and cooler temps for much of the pomp and circumstance.  I had even selected my outfit to most effectively hide the sweat stains one gets when sitting on a folding chair under the blazing heat of the Georgia sun.  Perhaps the whole circus was less painful this year because I actually remembered to bring a pillow for my back and a great wide brimmed hat to wear.  Despite my grumbling I do enjoy seeing the graduates and it was actually pretty awesome to see our 80%+ graduation rate walk across the stage.  Exceedingly impressive considering ten years ago it was 49.1%.

Last week I worked on my first beaded bead.  I used tubular peyote stitch with 15/0 beads on a wooden ball which I drilled myself.  I still have a long way to go to perfect the beaded bead, but I started to get some nice patterning spreading out across the bead.  I started in the middle and worked my way to each end.  Perhaps if I had a pattern for the decreases I would have a little better patterning with fewer gaps.  Also, I realized the need to cull the beads for the too-bigs which tend to stick out. From the picture, you can see how uneven these little guys are.  They are supposed to be Japanese, but who knows.
Blue Moon Beaded Bead

Ignore the little silver tassel at the bottom - I wired it on with aluminum wire in about 5 minutes so I could wear it on a crazy beaded necklace.  It went with my outfit, but I really need to stop trying to make my jewelry as I leave the house.  I definitely need to find a new dangle for the end of this or use some proper silver wire.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Raised by sheep

At just before 6 AM this morning the little boys decided they both wanted to sniff the same piece of territory (or cat/raccoon scat)and at the ends of their leashed they started to fight with each other. It was more noise than anything, but I, with coffee mug in one hand and leashes in the other, was unprepared to do anything decisive. When I told Papi at dinner he let out an ear piercing, glass shattering whistle. Now he is rather adept with the whistling and can raise me from a snooze on the couch in the living room from across the house if he finds himself stranded without tp, but this was a sound that could be used as an alert if a tornado came into town. When asked how he learned to whistle like that he explained succinctly, Oh, I used to hang out with shepherds We would go up into the hills in the morning and you have to be able to whistle to the dogs and the sheep.  I couldn't whistle well and the shepherd boys made fun of me and said I whistled like a girl.  I practiced every day until I would become lightheaded. It took me about two weeks, but then I got it. 

And this was a pretty normal dinner table conversation with my husband.  I find out new tidbits all the time.  He hung with the local shepherds when he was in 6th grade.  The 6th grade me was skateboarding.
Look out for the sweet looking little one - Coltrane - he is feisty

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Final four

I am into the last four days of school. Finals, grading, cleaning for the summer. Rush, rush, hurry up.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Lizard time, titty bears, and mosquito gates

A year or so ago my native Spanish speaking husband told me he needed a little lizard time.  I really had no idea what he was talking about until he clarified with, "you know, when you just lie around and do a lizard."  He really was certain he had heard people talking about lizard time activities.  It must be the thick accent down here.  Pen turns into pin, ten to tin, sure to show, and leisure to lizard.  Oddly enough, he actually has an easier time understanding the native southerners than I do, but there have been a couple times he was completely off base.

My favorite involved a skit he had to do at one of those team building workshops. Each group was given a few objects around which they would create their drama.  Papi's group received, as he told me, a Kleenex, a piece of paper, and a titty bear.

A titty bear? I asked him, un oso con chichis? (yeah, maybe you didn't know that the faux Mexican restaurant Chichis was really called Hooters, but it is true, you have been eating salsa at a place called Titties).

No, a titty bear, a TITTY bear, he insisted.

Papi, it is a TEDDY bear.

Oh, its a good thing I didn't have to say that word in the skit!

This morning on my way out of the house, I reminded him to let the dogs outside.  He asked me, did you  close the mosquito gate. 

¿The what?

The mosquito gate.  You know, the door that keeps out the mosquitos.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

¡Oh Happy Day/Oh Crappy Day!

I love this ring set I spotted on Etsy.  Isn't it just the thing for Mondays or right now - the last days of the school year when getting up at 5 AM, driving 40 minutes to work, and spending hours with people who only want to be on vacation and already have that eyes glazed over I can't hear you look is starting to get to me The rings remind me of a story I was told when I first started teaching.

A teacher habitually wore a red dress every time she was in a terrible mood.  Maybe it was the little red shift that fits no matter what sort of body issues crop up that day, maybe it was a power dress intended to lift her mood, but the result was the same.  Every time she wore that dress the students knew there was to be no messing around.  Crap, she's wearing the red dress was what they came to say each time they saw it.  

I'm usually in a great mood at work, but with the extra class we had added to our load the year before last and teaching straight through from 8AM to 1:30 PM with only a 30 min. break for lunch and still having another class last period, I get very worn out by the end of the day.  Maybe this is just the thing to signal to my last classes that there is no messing around.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

All mimsy were the borogoves

I worked on this peyote stitch bracelet last month, but didn't finish the closure until last night.  I wanted a button, but none of those I found on my quest quite fit the bill.  I've also been thinking a lot about the engineering of jewelry and pondering how I could attach the button.  I still am not satisfied with the solution, but I did finish the piece.  I decided to drill a whole in a 1/2 franc coin and wire a loop, then sew the loop of wire into the last space on the point of the piece and work the thread throughout the width.  The beaded loop for the closure is anchored into the body of the piece and is not right at the end.  When it is on my wrist the two point meet and do not overlap.  This was made from a pattern by Viktoria Szabo at Fairy's Dreams Jewellery on Etsy.
Borogove bracelet in two-tone blue
 When the French teacher saw this she kindly offered me some francs she has because she felt that the euro coin just would not due for a proper closure.
 Since this is actually an even-count peyote, I needed a closure that would hide the fact that the pointed ends are one bead off from being symmetrical.
Some of the flowers have a third color of bead - a very deep and sparkly blue.

A nice shot of what my dermatologist calls "wisdom marks" and I try to pass off as a dainty group of freckles.

I'm getting a bit better with my photos and there is a lot less dog hair showing in the bead weaving.  It helps that I made this piece after the boys were groomed.  Still, the back seat of my car looks as if a small animal exploded.  Corgi hair must carry some radically charged particles that allows it to form an unbreakable magnetic bond with whatever it comes into contact. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bead Soup Amuse-Bouche

Just a little teaser for my Bead Soup partner...

I will give a little glimpse, but only in B&W because I believe my package will arrive tomorrow and there should be some surprise.  For a Spanish teacher (which my partner is also), I've gone very French lately.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Buttons & Watches

I went downtown yesterday and hit a couple of the few antique/junque shops in town.  I was on the prowl for buttons.  I wanted some to make molds and some for closures.  The lady at Backward Glance who specializes in vintage clothing was finally open and her daughter was up from Miami and helping to unpack boxes.  It turns out her husband, who is usually in the shop with her, has been extremely ill and her shop has been closed because she is taking care of him.  She told me she has a visiting nurse who comes everyday, but that it is not enough time for her to keep the shop open. She was very excited to be working and helped me find some good buttons.  I'm going to keep checking back to try to catch her when to doors are open so that I can find more little jewels to use.  Some of the best finds are glass and crystal buttons which I have yet to photograph and some gold trimmed porcelain deco buttons with neat rows of tiny black dots.

I also found some watch parts that I absolutely love.  The watch on the right still has its crystal, but seems to be missing its hands.  ¿How did that happen?  The piece on the left has its hands, but no crystal.  The most beautiful part is the sapphire-colored stem tip.  The photo makes it appear dark and muddy colored, but it is a perfect sapphire blue.  These will make some fantastic necklaces.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A very lizard day

At 5:00 AM I put my dogs to frolic while I make coffee. They head out into their run through the side porch. Just to the left of the door hangs a string of glitter encrusted plastic snow flakes which I think are beautiful and refuse to take down even though it is almost Memorial Day. This morning I sat down on a bench and waited for them because I had a little burst of energy the night before and ground the coffee and set up the machine so all I needed to do was push the button. I looked around at the peeling paint and cobwebs and thought about the amount of time it would take to scrape and paint. Then I spotted a regular visitor in an unusual place. One of the snowflakes had acquired a rider:

 Papi used the camera later in the day when he spotted a strange creature when he was bringing in the mail:

...and all the wet weather is certainly going to bring the snakes out of the woods.  Fingers crossed that I don't stumble across any rattle snakes.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Gone fishin'

One of my classes is making family trees as a culminating project for the year.  In Spanish they will label their family members, describe their personalities, give a physical description, and tell a little about what each likes and doesn't like.  I drew out some of my family tree and talked a little about it.  I love this photo and a copy of it hangs on the bulletin boards in my classroom and office at home.  I realized that I didn't know enough about the picture so I asked my dad.

My dad told me, "Looks like Grandpa caught the sunfish and left it at the boat dock to be stuffed and mounted.  They are wearing 40's style clothes and were probably dressed to play pool.  He was good at all sports but especially baseball, billiards, and bowling.  When I was a boy in the 1950's he came to our house on Eastview every week.  I liked spending weekends with him at his apartment on Riverview Street.  He was a lot of fun and a very nice man."

Standing on the left is Roger Stewart who was married to my Great Aunt Jean, one of my grandmother's sisters.  Roger had a heart condition and the doctor told him to move to Florida where the climate was better than Dayton, Ohio.  A few years later Roger died, but Jean decided to stay.  she never remarried, but would visit Dayton each year at Christmas.

Great-grandpa Vlerebome was a pitcher and still played on a team when in his 50's.  When he was younger his mother would not let him tryout for the Cincinnati Reds because baseball players had reputations for being into ungentlemanly pursuits.

He became a printer and was a foreman on a five man crew that worked at McCalls.  They used a five color letterpress to print the covers of Time and McCall's magazines.  I believe they also may have printed Ladies Home Journal because my grandmother always had a subscription to the magazine for which her father had worked.

Great-grandpa loved to hunt and fish.  After he retired he would go to Wisconsin and Florida.  He stayed with his daughter Jean and fell in love with Miami.  He wanted to buy a boat and live on it, but that didn't work out.  He bought a two-family house in Dayton and fixed it up, then he bought a four-family house.

He also owned a gas station in Dayton for awhile.  His wife died in 1934.  A short time later he married a woman he met in a bar.  His daughters, my grandmother and her sisters, made him get it annulled.  During WWII, my father's family lived with him for a few years.  He didn't get along well with his son-in-law, my grandfather.  He was very independent and drove a car well into his 80's. He carried a roll of cash in order to settle up when he got into fender benders.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

23 and counting!

We have a huge oak tree down in the alley behind the house.  Actually it fell from my neighbors yard, but it is at the edge of the property line.  Papi and I went out last night at dusk to check it out.  I had a little fun with the tree, but was even happier to think about the 23 days of school remaining.  We are out on May 28.  ¡Yahoooo!  No more pencils, no more books.