Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cable knit

A little cable stitched Ndebele/herringbone bracelet I found in an old  Bead & Button.  Super easy and pretty amazing to stitch and watch the cable grow.  I've got to play with this more and see what I can create from the technique.  I dug into the spare button box for my closure.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Wild Raspberry

Slightly larger than the 12mm in the background and not yet in a piece of jewelry

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Blue Moon

honestly, you can't see the thread with the naked eye...beaded balls are best shot with macro and not super macro!
The moon faced charm hangs at the back
this is beaded on a 10mm bead and is about 12 mm across

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


In early spring when the flowers were bursting I found this pattern and finally got working on it last week while watching a marathon of Doc Martin episodes.  I purchased this drop-one even stitch peyote pattern, but when I started on it a few things combined to prevent me from starting the project.  First, I could not find some of the Delica colors needed (later it turned out that the European studio who put out the pattern had access to new Delica codes that were unheard of by Fusion Beads or Art Beads for a few months).  Then when the beads arrived I found the colors to be rather garish, but I decided to go ahead anyhow because frequently they look different when in place.  The colors are much better in place.  I love this pattern and bought more beads for another - this time the translucent background is more of a pearly cream and the flowers lean toward peach blossoms.  Oh, Georgia on my mind.  I love the little toggles I added.
Although I'm not really a pink girl, I do like the results.  I'm going on a little trip and will look for some more subdued and botanically correct cherry blossom colors which I can select in person.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Best Bead Giveaway Ever

Check out Denise Yezbak Moore's blog, then pick your chin up off the floor.  There is no hyperbole in her title The Best Bead Give-A-Way Ever.

Monday, June 21, 2010

My talented Bead Soup partner Marcie Abney recently published a project in Beadwork June/July 2010.  I followed the directions for her Color Swirls bracelet to make my own.  The pattern reminded me of an eddy:
swirling ice eddies from a NASA photo found in a Remote Sensing Tutorial
I got to work and played with a few colorways, but was frustrated because I have a mix of 11/0 Japanese and Czech seeds beads (despite the same number designation, they are not quite the same size), but didn't seem to have four colors that I liked together in either size.
Finally I ordered a few beads to fill out a colorway similar to what was shown in Beadwork.
Alternating rings - I switched out only one of the four colors in every other ring.
The toggle bar has brick stitch bead caps.
Check out the magazine and try your own circular peyote swirls.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bead Soup Reveal

I joined the Bead Soup Party a bit hesitantly because I am mostly just a dabbler who only sells when people approach me and ask about something I'm wearing.  However, I jumped in to give myself a challenge and to push myself to learn a few new things.  My partner is Marcie Abney from La Bella Joya, and as she pointed out in a post, we are strangely suited for each other - we both seed bead and we are both Spanish teachers.  Marcie sent a bead soup package in a fantastic colorway.  I took my cue from the copper clasp and got to work with pliers, hammer, and patina. 
I have been on a quest to learn to make very simple beaded beads and this provided the perfect opportunity.  I stitched up a beaded bead using circular peyote to cover a wooden ball and I made an octahedron from 4mm beads and seed beads.  Coming home from a dog walk one morning, I found a length of heavy gauge copper wire in the street in front of my house and decided to use it instead of searching for copper washers as I had planned.  From the wire I made hammered loops.  I also made the copper jump rings used to form the little bit of chain I used.  All this was subjected to patina gel from Cool Tools and tumbled.  In the necklace there is also a bead I made from a stack of pale green buttons.  All these pieces were assembled to show off the pretty resin pendant made by Marcie.
Some copper work, the octahedron bead, the stack o'buttons bead
That octahedron beaded bead sure looks like a World Cup tribute bead!

Here are today's partiers: 

14. Jen, Jen Judd Rocks

15. Kella, Me But a Little More In Depth

16. Emanda, Artemisia Studio

17. Marie, Skye Jewels

18. Loretta, Designs By Loretta

19. Stacy, Sissy and Jack's

20. Joanna, Filcowe

21. Diane, Diane Hawkey

22. Marianna, Pretty Shiny Things

23. Anna, The Laughing Raven

24. Marcie, La Bella Joya

25. Lois, You have just read this one
You have just read this one

26. Jayne, Mama's Got To Doodle

Thanks Lori for a great experience.  What fun I've had preparing and looking around at all the talented beaders blog.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Guilty Pleasure

I've been hooked to the computer watching the British comedy drama Doc Martin.  Martin Clunes (Men Behaving Badly) stars.  The setting is a gorgeous little port town in Cornwall.  Here is a little summary from
Martin Clunes stars in Doc Martin , a brand new comedy drama, as a doctor whose truculence and tactless manner causes mayhem in a small Cornish community. Martin plays surgeon Martin Ellingham, whose glittering career comes crashing down around him when he develops a phobia which prevents him conducting operations. He makes a life changing decision to retrain as a GP, and applies for a vacant post in the sleepy Cornish hamlet of Portwenn, where he spent childhood holidays. If the patients are expecting tea and sympathy from their curmudgeonly GP they are going to be disappointed. Despite his surgical brilliance, he has no personal skills, and his understanding of humans is practically non existent. Martin is joined by a prestigious cast which includes Stephanie Cole as his Aunt Joan, who provides him with emotional support in the face of the disquiet among the villagers. Caroline Catz plays pretty primary school teacher Louisa Glasson. Doc Martin is attracted to her, but he is hopeless at personal relationships
You can get episodes of the four-season series, plus a movie length episode On the Edge which came between seasons 2 and 3, on any number of sites.  I've been watching on (seasons 1-3), and youtube (season 4 and On the Edge).  Season 5 will air next year.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I'm a fútbol widow

from Getty Images
The World Cup, also known in our house as the Mundial has left me without a mate.  He is glued to ESPN.  I am be thankful that this is only a month every four years and not months and months every year.  I actually love watching some of the games, but the noise is driving me crazy.  ¿The noise?  ¿What noise you ask?  The noise thousands of fans blowing their vuvuzelas.  You can check out this slide show/article and discover it for yourself.  You can also hear the vuvuzela for yourself.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Down the street photos

It is difficult to take super-macro photos while holding two dogs on leashes and a cup of coffee, but it is not impossible.  Here are a few shots of the flora we saw.
The little dogs and I were out for a walk yesterday morning.  Despite the fact that it was just after 8 AM, the air was so humid that I felt as if I were walking around at an indoor swimming pool.  The dew had not burned off yet and it was already blazing hot.  We were out a little earlier than usual for the summer because I like to avoid walking when my neighbors are speeding down the street trying not to be late for church.  We were fairly successful, but did have a problem about a mile from the house when we encountered the Methodist minister's dogs running loose.  These dogs are old and escape artists, and I have on occasion driven over to the church to let them know the Revs dogs are taking a walk without him.  I'm not sure how much difference it makes because he doesn't walk them with leashes anyhow.

Just as Coltrane loves Lulu, Mingus adores Gracie.  She is a large, short-haired, black with white markings, heavily muscled, old, Heinz-57.  Mingus was doing his happy dance and sniffing noses with her.  She somehow turned and scared Coltrane-the-wanna-be-tough-guy, who snapped at her.  She snapped at him.  Cries from my baby boy ensued, and I ended up picking Coltrane up in my arms (unhurt, but scared).  He was fully recovered in six seconds.  Gracie and her brother dog wanted to keep walking with us, but I shooed them away in order to keep the peace.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Knitting the viking way

Viking knit fascinates me.  I love wrapping the wire, then pulling a small piece through the draw plate to get something huge.  I started a few little pieces in single knit, but could not understand how the double knit worked (despite fairly detailed drawings in  Art Jewelry, Sept. 2009).  Next I took a little class at Lizette's Great Beadginnings in Havana, FLA.  Apparently I was missing the forest for the trees.  The double knit was not the giant leap forward I made it out to be in my head, it was simply focusing on counting the rungs and not the loops that was getting in my way (here are some vk directions, some tips, some discussion of double knit with lots of pictures to clear up repeated confusion, i.e., rows = rungs).  I think this might be enough to get you started.  Below are a few photos of my first attempt.  This is all single knit, but you can see that I started with lots of petals.

I decided to start with eight petals - what was I thinking!
 This shows you how long my piece was before drawing it.
After going through the draw plate.
You can compare the length to the first photo.

Patinaed, tumbled, and sporting some beads.
If you try this yourself, don't run out and look for a drawplate.  I made mine from a piece of scrap wood into which I drilled holes.  I made mine in much the same way as is shown here.  I have a huge selection of bits and probably started with something like 1/2 in. and continued making holes until I got down to a fairly small diameter.  As I was drilling holes in the board, mine is a long and slender, not rectangular with a handle, I kept thinking of the paddle used for corporal punishment favored by my PE teacher in junior high. Not that I have any first hand knowledge - just seeing that paddle kept me dressing for gym all three years.

And yes, that is rosemary growing behind the ceramic lantern I used for a photo prop.  I bought a little pot in the veggie section of Publix and it has grown like crazy.  I snip and snip at it when I cook so it has bushed out to the point that I actually have to prune it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bahsa Beads Giveaway

I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw that Andrew Thornton's Thursday Giveaway is six glowing  Basha beads!  Go on over to his site to throw your hat in the ring for these gorgeous beads.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

La Bella Joya Bead Soup Mix

In my haste to get started making something  from the fabulous bead soup Marcie from La Bella Joya sent to me, I completely forgot to take a picture of it.  Today I backtracked and took apart some pieces in order to take a picture. Right now there are some copper pieces I made hardening in the tumbler, so in a few hours I should get back to work on my piece.  I have some beads all wired up, but this should give you an idea of the fun package I received. 

Marcie handmade the beautiful copper, paper, and resin pendant.  She also sent along some seed beads because she knew that I would take them and create some components (indeed, I have, but I will save the reveal for the 20th).  You can find more pendants at Marcie's Etsy shop; I think my favorite is the pretty round Home is Where the Heart Is.  She is having a sale right now.
Home is Where the Heart Is

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lizard porn

Although terribly hot yesterday, the humidity was down even after days of rain.  I sat on the side porch in the evening and spotted two amorous lizards on the leg of a chair.  The males have been scurrying around for days puffing out their throats to display a red dragon beard and doing lots of tiny push ups. There have been lizards hopping here there and everywhere doing acrobatic feats to get from one place to another. The porch has been a little like an episode of Jersey Shore.  This evening I discovered a male and a female in an embrace.
I had to raise the flash to get the photo and these poor babies must have thought they were seeing fireworks.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Coltrane loves Lulu

Coltrane is the fuzzy little bunny butt on the right.  Lulu is my neighbor's Boston terrier.  You can't tell from this end, but she has one brown eye and one blue eye.  Coltrane and Lulu are almost exactly the same age and he has loved her since they were puppies.  They run and roll and frolic. Lulu is a frenetic ball of energy; she zooms around wheezing and snorting, and even when she is standing in one spot, she seems to be in motion.  Mingus, the red one below, doesn't quite know what to make of the little whirlwind of a dog, but he enjoys the game.

Lulu followed us on our morning walk.  When we got home she came in for some water and dog wrestling.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Roll it, stamp it, bake it

My love affair with stamps began many years ago, but it was only in the past three that my collection has grown.  I started stamping my students' papers as I went around the room to check their warm-up work.  It was intended as motivation - to get them to hurry up when I started making my rounds.  It has worked splendidly and they even started buying me stamps and stamp pads.
I brought them home to clean them after students used them in a preposition activity.

I started playing with polymer clay last fall about the same time I picked up seed beads.  I'm not really sure what was happening in my mind, but I know it had something to do with frustration at not being able to buy beads where I live.  Yes, yes, I buy lots on the internet, but there is something about holding them in your hands, seeing the color, texture, size, and weight that is essential to me.  I thought perhaps I could make some of my own beads when I needed something in a particular size, shape, or color.  Needless to say, during the school year I have too many irons in the fire and not nearly enough focus to really explore any medium.  Here is a little peak at a few of the things I've made with pc and with pc and stamps.
 This is white clay with polyclay glazes to look like a tile.
 A little distressed.  It has a hole at top and bottom for links.  Need to add these.
 Little birds with a polyclay glaze and some extra distressing and splotches of color.  
 I made the stamp for this one with an impression from a picture frame.  It is translucent clay and ink.
A poppy in need of some more detail and a clear glaze.
 A bee experiment with glaze.
 A mold made from a stamp which clearly I must clean.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Town

Here are a few things that I have discovered or observed during the past week:
 Billboard along I-75 between Valdosta, GA and Tifton, GA
1. Desiccated frogs and lizards are a reality in my life.  I don't flinch anymore when I find a dried out creature tangled in corgi hair in some forgotten corner.  Yesterday a dime-sized frog mummy was in the middle of the living room floor, probably dropped there by a dog who discovered it and transported it to a spot more convenient for play.  I just scooped it up with bare hands and disposed of it.

2. There is no end to the growing season, the mosquito season, the wasp season, the fly season.  All annoyances continue to grow year round.  On New Year's Day the weeds are greener than the grass and I've been bitten by mosquitoes on Valentine's Day.  The vines grow here like something out of the Little Shop of Horrors.  We use a 16" machete and carry a file to keep it properly sharpened when doing a little light weeding.

3. There is truth in the saying, " a deer in headlights..."  A few blasts on the car horn will scare away deer standing at the side of the road.  It is the deer you cannot see before they leap across your path that will nearly give you a coronary.  Ten foot tall deer fence means nothing more than a ten foot jump for our Bambis here.  I've seen this height cleared in a single bound without the slightest break in stride.

4. Never shop at a grocery store that stocks Kilz-Em-Dead rat bait right next to the fried pork rinds and cheese curls and carries 13 different varieties of snuff.  However, if you do find yourself there because the only other grocery in town is out of something you need for dinner and a 36 mile round trip to the nearest town just for a lime seems excessive, do not look in the meat case.  I repeat, do not look in the meat case.  Feet from all manner of beasts and fowl, intestines, stomachs, and a variety of fish that would sell better at the bait store.  All this scenery nicely rounded out by an odor that says that the pull date is not a deadline, but merely a suggestion.

5. Forget Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster - we've got Hogzilla and the Skunk Ape.  Hogzilla is old news here - there is even a movie and a National Geographic special about it (totally worth waiting through the ad to see - SoGa is my neck of the woods - and the hog was in the papers for months after this happened).  The Skunk Ape has been around for awhile also, but it is only this spring that the local paper in a nearby town started printing stories about it and publishing accounts of sightings.  My neighbor first told me about the Skunk Ape which I only vaguely remember hearing about (I'm a much bigger Chupacabras fan).  But here in Q'town, one little boy told me, the Skunk Ape is real.