Monday, August 30, 2010


I  love the new Furminator.  Not only does it work like a dream, my husband loves to use it and brushes the dogs all the time.
Coltrane is his usual goofy self, except that he actually allows himself to be furminated.  This is a huge leap forward because he had decided after seven years that he no longer wanted to be brushed.  He would growl and throw a big hissy fit.  Despite the above appearances, here he is just being Coltrane and squirming all over.
Mingus always has on his big boy pants and knows how to behave.  Papi came in from working in the yard (yeah!  this weekend we had our first day under 90F since...well, maybe since April!) and gave the dogs a little brushing.  Yes, right in the middle of the kitchen.  But I know better than to discourage good works.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New work;silly dog

A foggy view because I didn't realize the lens was still not acclimated to the 100F

Ah, much better

This is a piece I finished a bit ago.  It isn't an original design.  I found it at one of the fabulous French blogs where patterns are freely shared for personal use.  You can find it at FlyBlog.  It is caled Boutonniere.  I liked the colors and the texture of the drop three peyote.  I added this antique metal button to Flymouche's pattern.  This is the first time I used these great bronze beads that I see all over the European sites and in many of the best American designers' work.  The camera really picked up on the slight tone difference between the bronze beads and the button, but in person they appear to be the same color.
The green is matte transparent.

I love the contrast of finishes among the beads.  The white are very pearly.
Even though this is an odd count pattern, it went together quickly in drop three.  Right now I'm working on a single drop odd count peyote, but I am using two needles to avoid one part of the bead fabric getting too stiff.  I thought I would have a big tangle of thread (actually Fireline), but all is going well.

I'm in the third week of school, have been sick for 1.5 weeks, and have 130 quizzes to grade right now. Final thought: Why does Coltrane always sleep with his head on a pillow?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Alice Istanbul Design's Welcome Back Giveaway

Alice Istanbul Designs is giving away the most breath-taking necklace.  The Mackintosh-esque roses, the pearls in the chain, the design peaking through the glass totally fantastic. And you haven't even seen the back yet.  Click over to the blog to check it out.
Did she make this for me?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kate McKinnon Sale & Giveaway

Kate McKinnon is cleaning house and raising some spending money for her upcoming teaching trip to France.  She is having a big sale at her shop and has has daily giveaways.  Check out her latest offerings.

You can win this mod bead set if you hurry to her page.  I love the combo of hot on cool color in these beads by Joyce Rooks (left) and Libby Leuchtman (right).  Go and check out Kate's store, too.  Buy one of her metal clay books and be delighted.  Kate is offering loads of other beads as well as her own work at rock bottom prices. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Do tell...

Last week, the opening week of school, Elizabeth from Beads for Busy Gals tagged my blog with this:

Thank you, Elizabeth, for reading my ramblings and enjoying my dogs!  I am flattered and thankful to receive the Versatile Blogger seal of approval. Of course honor comes with responsibility.  It took me a few days, but I'm going to fulfill my mission.  
Here are the rules:
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 15 other bloggers you recently discovered and think are fabulous.
4. Contact the bloggers you chose and let them know about the award.

Since this award has been traveling the www for a bit of time, I've inverted the numbers - I'm giving you 15 things about me and 7 bloggers.

15. I would rather find a dog hair in my food than a people hair.

14. I have 48 bottles of nail polish in my medicine closet. I never polish my fingernails, only my toe nails. Beaders can understand this. I purge my polishes regularly so that no bottle is probably more than two years old. Right now I'm wearing a color called Sonic Boom.

13. I have formally studied French, Dutch, Italian, and German, but Spanish which I taught myself, is the only language in which I can really communicate.

12. When I was 18 and living on a farm in the Netherlands, I midwifed a calf's birth complete with obstetrical chains.

11. I have had a 26 year friendship-by-correspondence with someone I met my freshman year in college. I transferred after the first year, but we continue our friendship to this day by mail. He does not use e-mail and we rarely speak on the phone. Sometimes I talk to or e-mail his girl friend of 20+ years, but I only speak to him about once every five years. Most of our rather frequent correspondence is via postcard (he does most of the correspondence). We haven't seen each other in over ten years.

10. I was painfully shy until I was out of high school. In kindergarten I remember a girl who would not speak and just stood in class with big saucer eyes when Mrs. Halberg made her go to the front of the room for show and tell. I was relieved that there was one person more shy than I was.

9. I became a teacher because after working for almost two years, I realized that I missed the first day of school, winter and spring vacation, and two months off each year. I love to teach and have since my first day in the classroom, but my career choice was actually based on maximizing my free time.

8. I find it difficult to make friends as an adult. My closest friends are people I have known for years and years.

7. I have a cactus that it 20 years old. It has moved with me four times and originally came from a plant owned by my Aunt Carol.

6. I wish all my family - parents, cousins, brother, niece, aunts, and uncles all lived in the same city with me so that we could really get to know each other better now that I'm an adult. In my dream that city has neither the cold and snow of Cleveland, nor the heat and humidity of Q'town.

5. I constantly crave foods that are completely unknown in Q'town. I long for the pomme frites from the Lava Lounge in Tremont. A close second would be a falafel from a Kosher place in the Marais neighborhood in Paris. Every once in a while I need the macadamian nut crusted ahi tuna with lemon buerre blanc sauce from Ken Stewart's Grill and a Killer Brownie from Akron's West Point Market.

4. I have met two other Lois Moons and both are the first women named Lois I have ever seen who are younger than I am.

3. I get the hiccups a lot and so does my dog Coltrane.

2. One of my first memories took place when I was younger than four (we lived on Foote Road). I was under my pink and white checked comforter and thought I could flatten myself out so much that my mom and dad would not see me. I wanted to jump out and surprise them with my reappearance. I guess I already had a firm grasp on Jean Piaget's cognitive stages.

1. I wish I could go to lunch with my long gone great-grandmother Mildred and my grandfather Harold, but not at the same time.

In no particular order (well, they are in order of most recent posting when I grabbed them from my blog reader):
1. Arty Becca - When I read this blog I am inspired to pull out polymer clay and play.  These beads and pendants are FUN!

2. Geninne's Art Blog - Oh how I love the watercolor and ink drawings.  Birds, flora, fauna.  It's a hat trick. And her son and dog each have their own blog.  Gotta check out A Day in the Life of Turbo.

3. Chinook Jewelry Blog - I would select Mellisa just for the beautiful mehndi style line drawing in her banner, but I loved her recent entry Food for thought in which she discussed why she blogs and how her blog has evovled.  Her ceramic pendants are gorgeous.

4. Beads, beads, beads - Katrin writes a bilingual (Estonian/English) blog and makes sparkly jewelry that is lush and chunky.  She really knows how to work monotone bead combos.

5. Alice Istanbul Designs - she says she lives in the Deep South, but Q'town in four hours farther south [wink].  What a fantastic metalsmith.  I'm in love with the signature poppy design and I'm a sucker for art nouveau.

6. Blue Hour Designs - another one of my favorite metalsmiths.  I love the stones Alysia finds.  Simple, modern, beautiful.  She happens to be having a giveaway right now.

7. Yellow Flower - I look forward to reading Amber's blog to see what she is making in the Big Easy.  Every visit is a virtual peek into her studio.  Check out her Flicker for loads of fun goodies.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Celebration Giveaway

You can enter the giveaway for this fabulous necklace at Beading from the Heart.  Nancy Peterson from BFTH is celebrating her first publication in Beadwork magazine with this giveaway.  She is featured in the August/September issue:

The giveaway necklace is featured on the left in the photo above.  I thought this might be a good project for me to work on to learn a little RAW, but winning one would be even better.  Of course this is because I would have a "live" model in front of me.  Surf on over - Nancy will draw for a winner next Saturday, August 14th.  You might also check out some of her patterns at her store front.  I can't wait to get my hands on a few of these.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hey Jackson Pollock

bead soup for freeform peyote bracelet
When I was an undergrad (history of art major with a focus on late medieval and early northern Renaissance), I saw a video if Jackson Pollock painting.  The video was filmed from the underside of a transparent sheet of something, and as Pollock painted he was narrating what he was doing.
 At a certain point he stopped and explained he was done - he had lost touch with the painting.  Done.  Nada más. I had a difficult time understanding that moment as a 19 year old.  I was taking a studio drawing class and my biggest challenge was knowing when to stop.  Of course Pollock didn't mean he was finished and the painting was great; he thought it was trashed.  I wonder about both of these issues.  When was a piece finished? When is one more line too much?  Beading, stringing, wirework, el al, is no different.  When am I done?
working on my third row

I continued for quite sometime with this piece, but after about 15 rows, and despite the fact that there were sections that I loved, I lost touch with it.  Done.  Nada más.  Something similar happened to me the day before yesterday.  I put together a piece of stringing and was all excited about the beads.  But BAM, it didn't speak to me.  So last night I took it apart.  I took out beads and left only two types and a pretty lampwork bead.  It came together.  Less is more.  These are slightly different problems, but in my mind they are connected.  Sometimes I know when something isn't working and sometimes I stubbornly plow ahead and pretend all is well.  Knowing when to stop and when one more bead is too many is the art.

It's not the heat

That is what the weather report shows.  This is what it says:  92 F, feels like 103F.  What the heck?!  It is 5:30PM already.  I was just outside trying to take a couple of pictures of a bracelet and had to wait for more than five minutes for the lens to stop fogging.  It stormed like you wouldn't believe last night and the humidity is super high.  I spent a total of ten minutes outside trying to move as little as possible and I still need a shower.
Still slightly fogged

The closure is the only original part of the piece.

The green is matte transparent.  The rest are glossy.

 I found the pattern at Flymouche's site.  It is called Boutonniere.  The Flyblog is one of the many wonderful French beading sites whose owners share patterns for personal use.  Even though my mother objected to the colors when I shared my latest project with her, I went ahead because I was interested in how these colors and finishes related to each other. I've noticed tons of the European and many of the top American beaders using metal tones, particularly this bronze.  I also was really curious how the matte transparent green would look surrounded by the glossy and luminous beads.  The bands of green actually really receded on the wrist.  They set off the orchid, white, and blue.  The bronze sparkles throughout.  It is a fun piece to wear.  I searched my bead stash and came up with this antique metal bead.

I was shocked how quickly drop three peyote goes together.  Even this odd count piece was fast.  Right now I'm working on a wider cuff and have switched to using a two needle method for odd count so I get even tension throughout the piece. 

I found the little dogs sleeping on the futon.  Why does Coltrane sleep using a pillow?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


The new school year is unfolding before me.  This is the start of my 19th year teaching.  I can't believe it.  The teachers in my district start today and the students come next Monday.  I have a few days of meetings, set-up, more meetings, and prep.  Even after all these years and there is still something magical about the first days of school.

The ferns above grow in a gully next the the road a few houses away.  The ditch separates the swampy woods from the pavement.  After a rain the toads and frogs of those woods croak with such volume that it is alarming.  Last month the city or the property owner mowed every thing close to the road to the ground.  There were a few varieties of purple and wild flowers, wild orange- red gladiolus (who knew?), and these ferns.  Loved the flowers, but I missed the ferns the most.  On a scorching day (we've been having 110 heat index with air so saturated with water that toweling off after a shower is just wasted energy) the ferns always look so fresh and cool.

Mingus and Coltrane on the trail of a mysterious scent.  It went that-away.  Coltrane is the typical little "brother" - always pushing his way into whatever Ming is doing or whatever space Ming occupies.