Sunday, July 31, 2011

Breakfast Bliss

At least once a year, we try to have breakfast at the Pisgah Inn, a beautiful location just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.

The Inn is perched on the side of a mountain over 5,000 feet in elevation. Many times, we get up there to discover that the mountain is shrouded in fog, blocking the spectacular view of the surrounding mountains and the valleys below.

But not today. Today was sunny and gorgeous and clear. And because the Inn's restaurant has floor to ceiling windows on the valley side, here's the view we enjoyed along with our breakfast this morning.

And to prove that Pat and I are both way over the age of 14 and are therefore hopelessly unable to take pictures of ourselves with a phone camera, here's the best of the bunch. Pitiful picture, but the bright side is that we really amused all the other restaurant patrons who watched us through those wonderful huge windows as we struggled to get the (*&#$ camera to work...

Pictures of the latest beading project next time, I promise!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Getting in Line for Some Soup

I could not be much more excited, y'all -- it's almost time for the next Bead Soup Blog Party, hosted by the inimitable, fabulous, and all-around amazing Lori Anderson of Pretty Things

I stumbled across the last bead soup blog hop by happy accident, and it blew me away. The creativity, the generosity of the participants with each other, and the flat out overwhelming quantities of eye candy were astonishing. I couldn't wait for the next one so I could join in.

Bead Soup Blog Party

In case you're not familiar with the ins & outs of the bead soup party, participants are paired up with a swap buddy, and each sends a focal, coordinating beads, and a special clasp to the other.

Can you imagine the excitement of packing up a box of goodies, knowing that you'll be getting a spectacular selection of surprises in return?

Everyone makes something from their surprise package ingredients - adding whatever special seasonings they need from their own "bead room kitchen." Pictures of the final products are posted, and then the fun begins, when we all spend hours strolling through the blogs and being wowed by the results.

So mark your calendars, folks!! Sign ups are August 1 - 3, beads go out August 17, and the (drum roll, please) Big Reveal is September 17.

Will you be cooking up some bead soup this time? I'll see you there!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bead Porn and Airport Follies

Y'all, if you've never been to Chicago, you have got to get there some day. It has fabulous food, beads, music, beads, art, beads, food, beads. Oh, and beads.

My two most recent trips to Chicago have been for drastically different purposes.

The first one included bead shopping (yeah, there are a few stores in the area). These lovelies all came from Caravan Beads...

great little striated daggers

I'm a sucker for anything purple, and these made me squeal. I'm not too proud to admit it.

Vintage Czech glass, in an unusual color combo, but too beautiful to pass up.
They's got a lovely incandescent glow in person.

Okay, the next picture isn't beads, but it is a photo from my most recent trip to Chicago, when I took my son to O'Hare to fly to Italy for a summer study program. Yep, poor baby. Sadly, the thing he's towing behind him is not a way for his mother to smuggle herself to Italy along with him ( to his great relief). That, my friends, is a travel case for a double bass.

It weighs 120 pounds, and is almost 8 feet tall. Thank God it has wheels.

Quick, before you work up too much of a sympathetic sweat imagining what that beast must be like to maneuver through one of the world's busiest airports, let's get back to a little more bead porn...

these are a little more turquoise in reality than they appear here

Oh, my goodness, these are such a gorgeous color they make me gasp every time I see them.
Seriously. they are slap-yourself-silly, fall-down beautiful.

fun little Picasso finished nuggets

cherry marbelized deliciousness!

Okay, to get a sense of scale for the next photo, my son is six feet tall.

There was not one person we passed at O'Hare who didn't turn and gape. Small children were alternately fascinated and scared to pieces. Like a pregnant woman's belly, people seemed unable to resist the urge to touch it. Give props to the folks at the American Airlines check in desk, they were wonderfully helpful.

My goal for the next trip to Chicago? To take the flight case to Chicago without the bass in it, and fill it up with BEADS!!!

A girl can dream, right?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

And I'll Do It Again If I Can Call Myself Elly May

Oh, the things we do for our children.

My son needs a bed for his apartment at school next year. We bought a bed several years ago for the cabin my husband lives in as a summer music camp faculty member.

"Perfect!" we thought. "We'll ask the camp to move one of the beds they have in storage into our cabin, and we'll let our son have the one we own."

Now, when you strap a mattress and box springs to the top of your car to drive it across town, that's normal moving.

When you strap it to the top of your car and drive it 400 miles through the mountains and in several rainstorms, that, my friends, is The Beverly Hillbillies.

Of course, for my kids, I would do it again.

But only if I can call myself Elly Mae and go for a swim in the cement pond afterward.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Beading Equivalent of A Juicy Beach Read

I had a few days of vacation over the Fourth.

In addition to hanging out with friends and family, relaxing, eating WAY more than I should have, and nearly having my car shot up by a dozen cannons, I did a little bit of beading.

I concentrated on smaller projects that could travel easily. Low stress, easy on the brain (like a cheesy romance novel), quick to complete yet strangely satisfying (like a great whodunnit or thriller).

Things that could be put down and picked back up at a moment's notice.

Because frankly, you never know when an ice cream cone will call your name, so you need to be able to drop what you're doing and answer the summons of the praline pecan.

So I did some embroidered components that will become bracelets or pendants. Or perhaps the turquoise and floral vintage cabs will become cute little earrings.

And while I finish them off, I promise I'll jog in place to burn off the scoops of praline pecan that lured me during vacation. (Sadly, my friends, that promise is probably as fictional as any cheesy romance novel you may read this summer. But I will show you the final pieces when I finish up the cabs!)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Holiday Treats

So I was wandering innocently through the arts & crafts section of the local 4th of July downtown festival this morning, when I heard a little voice say, "Look over here! We're shiny! We're pretty!"

And being easily distracted and seduced by anything pretty and shiny, I had to investigate. This is what I found a basket full of:

The artist, Coon Cats Pottery (sadly, no website), was selling these ceramic beauties as buttons. But I see them as great focals, clasps, etc, etc, etc....

So I listened to the little shiny voices, grabbed as many as I could hold in both hands, and went home a very happy lady!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

How My Car Nearly Got Shot By Fifteen Cannons Today

We're spending a few days in the mountains once again, enjoying the long weekend in a location that's about 15 degrees cooler than home.

Here's our little cabin in the woods...

This afternoon there's a 4th of July concert nearby, capped off with a performance of the 1812 Overture, complete with cannons. When he composed the work, Tchaikovsky did include cannon shots to make this musical depiction of the defense of Moscow against Napoleon's invasion even more, um, picturesque. Needless to say, the live cannons are rarely included when the piece is performed indoors. The concert this afternoon is in an auditorium whose sides are open to the outdoors, so everyone who's there is eager to see (and have their eardrums assaulted by) the cannons.

My son drove down to the auditorium early this morning, parking my car to the side near the stage doors. Little did he know that he was parked right next to where the cannoneers would be setting up.

My husband and I went down around noon, only to discover that there were fifteen cannons right next to my car. I mean, less than three feet from the driver's side. Even if they hadn't been aimed at the car (which they were), the concussion from the shots would have blown every window in the vehicle.

Here's a picture from this same concert a couple of years ago - and yes, the cannon you see was in the lineup next to my car...

Thank goodness we found my son (and the car key) before the cannons found their target. Whew!

May your Fourth of July celebrations be happy, and much less adventure filled than ours!