Saturday, July 31, 2010

Give it away, give it away, give it away now

Everywhere I turn there seem to be giveaways in progress.  I can't help but having the Red Hot Chili Peppers's lyrics running through my head each time I go to a blog and see some yummies being offered.  Here are some of the current giveaways:

This book is up for grabs at GlassAddictions

Go to Beading Arts for this fab cab

Throw your hat in the ring for these bailing pliers at Beads of Clay

Friday, July 30, 2010

Repose Grey

I'm painting today.  The living room.  Yesterday I prepped and primed.  Today I'm starting with the ceiling - the palest blue, then painting the walls Repose Grey.  Currently they are a golden yellow and while I do love the color, it goes extremely sallow at certain times of day.  So I'm taking my own advice and going for neural.  I guess I want a better background for the little art I have.
You can see the yellow peeking out around the window.  This swatch has been on the wall for over a year.  Time to paint!

Corgi nap

The boys were trying to take a nap on the couch in the office.  Mingus's head is on one of my socks that Coltrane snagged from the laundry basket and carried around.  The chic floral sheet is protection against the latest corgi molt.
Helen Mirren as QE2 from
I know she gets help with the grooming.  My neighbors have suggested the FURminator and I'm going to give it a test drive. 

Check out the giveaway

This week Andrew Thornton's Thursday Giveaway is in celebration of four years of blogging.  I must say that when I scrolled down and saw the photo it took my breath away.  Wow, what a fantastic bead hoard!
I love all these juicy colors!  Go to The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton to throw your hat in the ring.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Color Inventory: Running Hot & Cold

The cell phone rang when I was on my way to the grocery store around 7:30 yesterday evening.  I was desperately hungry and looking for something fast to make.  I had planned to make pasta with a red lentil sauce, but it takes almost an hour to cook and there was no way I was going to last that long.  Hungry and in a hurry, I plugged in my little hands-free earbud.  It was a prerecorded message from my boss telling me that I had just one more week of vacation left...a 7:30 AM meeting...check my school e-mail for a detailed attachment.  Buzzkill is the expression that comes to mind.  Not that I haven't already been to school for a meeting (two of my six person department are brand spanking new teachers this year so we are being proactive in our support) and spent countless hours thinking about what I want to do the first weeks of school (I have a new course load this year - six classes of Spanish 2 - ¡yeah, one prep! But how do I keep it fresh all day).
Color inventory 2: Running hot & cold

In honor of that phone call, my subconscious woke me at school day time: 5 AM.  Boy, the little dogs were surprised that they didn't need to whine to get me up this morning.  While waiting for the coffee to brew, I walked around the house and took pics for my color & pattern inspiration of the day.  Actually, I'm not trying to inspire myself so much as understand how to put together colors.  I'm a little all over the place - I like brights, hots, cools, earthtones, just about everything.  I look around at many sites and see so many great combos in beads and stringing, but my difficulty results in something like excitement, then frustration, then disappointment when I start rifling through the bead stash.  So I'm working on this. Either that or I have discovered and justified a fantastic new procrastination tool.  One of my friends calls this method the paralysis of analysis.  I am greatly inspired by La Bella Joya's exploration of Margie Deeb's The Beader's Color Palette.  But I'm not ready (in my mind) to put the beads together yet.  I guess I'm taking a color inventory.

One of the things that got me started thinking about this was a quick glance through my Etsy favorites.  I noticed that there were little clusters of colors within all those fab pieces I was hearting.  Then I looked at the sacred bead stash.  It didn't really match.  Just as I have been battling with clothing and making outfits, I need to learn how to use neutrals (and what defines a neutral seems to be situation dependent) to show off splashes of color.

Russian leaf color inspiration

Yesterday I posted this Russian leaf earring.  I had in my mind a more reddish brown - this one goes green (sort of baby poop green)  and I actually have a much better brown in Delicas, but I was on a kick to see what the pattern would look like with round 11/0 and didn't follow what I knew I should be doing.  I wonder what better pairings there might be for color.  I'm going to use my color inspiration from a few days ago to get to the bottom of this.
Dog shot of the day.  From a FLA corgi party.  Not my photo.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Accidental Peacock

I tried out the Russian leaf earrings in the latest Beadwork.  I was wearing this bracelet around the house and remembered that I bought a few extra 6mm crystals when I made it.

Medina Bird
I'm not much of a crystal girl, but I do like a little sparkle here and there.  I started stitching with delicas left from the Medina Bird, but I used deep purple thread because I wanted to give the pale, pale 4mm bicones a little more color.  For some reason I was a little surprised when I came up with peacock feathers.  I mean, I saw the pic in the magazine - what did I expect?  Little may you know, but I'm a big fan of peacocks.  One of the highlights of my day is driving by the farm that has dozens of the birds and seeing them roosting in the trees and on the roof of the house. When the leaves fall from the pecan trees, I get a great view.
Last winter

Peacock Paisley

I think I need to make these without the dangly at the bottom

I tried it with Japanese seed beads and no dangle at the bottom
¿How cute is that bunny butt?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

{Color/pattern inspiration photo collage at end of post}

It is a full moon today.  It is my birthday.  I won't reveal my age, but I will tell you that it rhymes with door-to-door.  I can't believe it is such a high number.  (But I do like the number because the crazy former math teacher in me loves fat even numbers like this one.  I'm also a fan of primes, perfect squares, and the Fibonacci sequence.)  I would say, "Me pongo vieja," but I really don't.  I remember my 22nd birthday as if it were yesterday.  And I think I feel almost the same (wiser, but not so different).  When I turned 22 I was at my parents' house just after I was graduated from Ohio State.  I was totally nervous the entire summer because I would be leaving for grad school (history of art) at NYU and living in NYC.    My dad came into my room in the morning to wish me happy birthday and told me that he couldn't believe he had a daughter who was 22 because it seemed to him that he had just been 22 yesterday.  He had been living in Greenwich Village about the time he was 22.   
Reading and probably discussing the news
And right on cue my dad has phoned to wish me happy birthday.  I told him about the story, above, and he said that as we get older our perception of time speeds up.  Ahhh, yes, I think I can feel a little breeze from my increased speed.

The red dog let me sleep until 6:51 this morning.  I guess this was his gift to me.  One more week and we are back to 5 AM waking so I should relish the extra 111 minutes while I can.
Mingus & Coltrane
If I got all the projects completed that I dream up on the daily dog walks I would be the most productive person around.  Alas, it is not so.  But this morning I was thinking about photographing colors and patterns from around my house.  Usually I do this outside - flowers, sand, bark - but I was thinking about finding  inspiration in the objects with which I surround myself.  Here is a glimpse into my house.
 I must say that I really do vacuum.  I even bought a Dyson Animal after the second corgi came along.  Unfortunately no matter how much brushing and vacuuming gets done, corgi hair produces tumble weed size dust bunnies.  And these boys are going through the second serious molt since April.  Sorry about all the dog hair in the pics.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sleepless in Q'town/Full Moon

Even though he likes his sleep, Mingus whines to wake me before six most mornings.  Something must have disturbed him yesterday because he started at 4:45 AM.  Although my hives have finally cooled down and no new itchy patches have risen, three weeks of prednisone are making me rather manic.  I'm coming to the end of this course of meds and hoping that I'll be free of them.  Earlier this week I was a ball of furiously unfocused energy.  Although I got quite a bit of vacuuming done, staying on task doing anything else was a bit of a challenge.  As were coherent thoughts.  And sleeping.  Something I've taken has altered my sense of taste so just about the only thing I want is a tall glass of Coke (full sugar, caffeine-free and even better if you buy it at the Mexican grocery because they get imported Coke in glass bottles Coke made with cane sugar).  I'm not much of a soda girl, but that strong peppery fizz does cut the deathly metallic taste that will not leave me.

I've made some more rings.  This one in candy colors.  I think I'm going to make a couple beaded beads and loops and swirls from heavy copper wire to pair with this one.  I've been checking out some of the French and German beading sites and seen some long necklaces with loads of beady components.  Here is one of the sites I like
This is a metal piece I worked on last year, but finally got around to adding the dangly polyclay heart.  For some reason I could not get a decent picture of the whole piece.  I still need to patina the copper wire a little bit.  Or else I'll just let it hand around and nature will take over.

In honor of the full moon, which just happens to be on my birthday tomorrow (is that a good or bad omen?), I started playing with a moonface polyclay cab I made earlier in the year.  This shows in progress, but now there are actually a few more rows of progressively smaller beads encircling the face.  I think I'm going to use it as one component in a bracelet.  I've got to put Sharpie to the bead foundation to finish this off.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Before I write a word, let me preface this post by saying that I've just spent the afternoon on the phone speaking with the Accounts Management rep from the hospital, the claims rep from my health care, and my doctor's office.  All these calls to correct a bill coding problem that arose when my doctor decided to code something diagnostic instead of routine in order to get a test a little earlier than if I went routine.  But, *drumroll here*...this is exactly the opposite of what occurred.  The long and the short of it is that I'm waiting for the doc's office to call back and say they will submit a corrective order, and I learned that I should call and speak to a claims rep while standing in the doc's office before I have anything done.  This is the lesson: call claims and find out how the tests, etc. need to be ordered so that they are in line with your particular plan. Don't listen to the doc; call and get advice from the claim rep.  But I must say that I spoke to three very wonderful, calm women this afternoon.  Each one just as helpful as the next.  Really!

Before this I entertained the appliance repairman who came to look at my dishwasher and one of the burners on my cooktop.  Each is less than 5 years old, each will require a $90+ part. 

O.K., done with that rant.  Now I think I might proceed.

I've been making little beaded rings.  Not the sort for your finger, but the type you might string on a ribbon or chain.  My favorite so far is this little turquoise number:

It wasn't too difficult to go outside this afternoon and snap a few shot of this.  The only thing I had to overcome was the extreme temperature difference between the indoors and the garden which caused the camera to repeatedly fog.  Sometimes I just need to put down the camera and let it get used to the temps for about 10 minutes before I try anything, but today I had luck.  I'm going to try to get a couple more of these made...well actually I have made a few today, but managed to break a bead as I was finishing up.  Not such an easy thing to fix when netting.  I'm still working on finding the correct tension - maybe I need to switch from 11/0 Czech to 11/0 Japanese beads? 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Prison Break

It is a beautiful SoGa morning - not too much heat or humidity, no rain, no snakes (although we did have a three foot *baby* white oak snake peek at us through the French doors from the porch and into the living room - how did he navigate through all those corgi hair tumbleweeds?).  My furry friends and I just got back from our walk where we admired the growing piles of hair at every corner (got to pull out the molting fur while the dogs are marking territory) and the landscaping work of the local prisoners.  Yes, maybe it is a southern thing, but little Q'town uses prison labor for various tasks.  This week the guys are trimming the azaleas which grow in the median of our main historic residential street.  They are out there in black and white striped prison togs wielding trimmers, blowers, and chain saws.  And in fact, are doing a beautiful job.  These particular guys seem to know how to get a nice shape out the the plants and are not just beheading them, but actually removing the weedy stuff growing through and around the bushes. 
A sweet deer hanging out at my parents' house.  This one was crossing the street when I pulled up one afternoon, walked through a neighbor's yard, ate some plants, then posed for me.  We don't see any deer in our yard - they prefer to stay in the 40 acre woods.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Seed-Stitch Look Herringbone

I've been working the beads and the clay a tiny bit.   I tested out some stamps on polymer clay and have unsuccessfully tried my hand at the peyote bias (an edge increase and decrease in every row) "Dewdrop Diagonal Bracelet" in Carol Huber Cypher's book, Mastering Beadwork.  Something is not clicking  in that one.  I took it apart and started over at least three times.  I even printed edge increase and decrease directions from a couple of different sites.  This did lead me to realize that there are more names for the increases and decreases than I thought - not just edge, mid-project, gradual, and rapid.  My basic problem is that after I make the increase, even though I know how many beads to add, I can't figure out where to put the last bead in the row that follows the increase. It is not lining up for me.  I had a few glimmers of hope while looking at diagrams, but when I put needle and thread to bead, I was back to square one (well, maybe 1.5).  Fortunately, the little bead shop in Havana, Florida is having a "Bring a project and we'll help you" afternoon on July 18th.  Meet me in Havana!
Seed-Stitch Look Bracelet from Carol Huber Cypher

I made a button hole and toggle closure, but it doesn't really go with the inclusions that I added to the end.  I think a button is actually needed for the closure.

To get a little taste of success, I moved on to the herringbone project, above.  This one is easy, although I abandoned her method for starting the first tow row and used two base rows of square stitch.  I actually think that ladder stitch is a better, cleaner (less thread showing) technique to use for a base stitch.  I usually do a two needle ladder stitch so that I don't loose my mind.  Being left-handed makes certain stitches ridiculously hard for me to follow from written directions and even from diagrams.

Mostly I am suffering from terrible itchy hives.   I will not go into all the gory details, but I will say that they started on both hands and both below the elbow, then on my legs below the knee.  A two days went by and they started to get worse and spread above my knee.  Nothing at all is stopping the progression, although 1,000 mg acetaminophen  every 4-5 hrs. is helping calm the itch a little. I mention it here because from what I understand, many people suffer from similar hive formations. I will be in my doctor's office as soon as it opens in the morning.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Return from the North

I returned last night from my annual pilgrimage to Cleveland.  I spent two weeks visiting with my parents, my relatives, and my friends.  And two weeks away from blogging, beading, and reading blogs.  Today I'm catching up, unpacking, and doing a little grocery shopping.  There is no food shopping here that can compare to where I used to shop when I lived in Cleveland.  Before I moved to SoGA, I lived and worked in just a few minutes from the Westside Market.  Before work I could stop by the market and get freshly baked bagels or scones, and after work I could cruised through and pick up what was needed for the evening.
Westside Market, Cleveland, Ohio...see the band playing on the balcony in front of the window!