Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Triplets

Finally, finally, finally, I got some time in my bead room over the past couple of days.  It was so good to spend some time reacquainting myself with the things in there.  ("Oh, stash of crystals, I remember your sparkle.  Seed beads, how I've missed you!!")  

Yes, I talk to my beads.  Not worrisome until I report that they've begun to talk back.

Anyway, several projects got worked on, more got started, and a whole bunch are sitting there just waiting for clasps, earwires, or other finishing touches.  I'm particularly excited about one I'm calling The Triplets -- a trio of jasper beads that I'd embroidered a while back, but hadn't made into a finished...whatever.

Frankly, it had been sitting on the UFO (unfiished objects) pile for a long time, as contemplated what kind of beadwoven neckstrap to make for it.  Then today, it struck me that perhaps the Triplets would shine more beautifully if they were surrounded more simply.

Meet "The Triplets"
So here they are, suspended from a simple neckchain of onyx and gold beads.  The clasp is not yet made, so the photo only shows a portion of the piece.

Tomorrow morning brings a visit to the dentist, to get some filling replaced (oh joy, oh rapture...oh, sure).  The afternoon will likely be spent on the sofa, finishing the projects that just lack findings and other completing touches while the novocaine wears off.  (Who knows, maybe the novocaine will make the beads start talking to me!)

Friday, December 28, 2012

For My Biggest Cheerleader

Who's your biggest cheerleader?  Your spouse?  Your sibling? Your best friend?

In my life, I've been so lucky to have lots of people cheering me on.  But for sheer force of longevity of the enthusiasm, Mom is #1.

Okay, even though she isn't online and wouldn't know what a blog was if you asked, I didn't want to show this picture of what I made for Mom ahead of Christmas.  Somewhere in the back of my head, I knew that if I did, it would be the guarantee that she would become instantly online literate and the photo would the first thing she'd find.

So anyway, since the date has passed, the packages have been unwrapped, and the threat of my mother becoming an internet whiz is over, here's what she found under the tree...

It was a hit.  And now my sister wants one, too - birthday gift selection, check!

Oddly enough, I don't usually make jewelry gifts for my family.  Do you?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Trivial Pursuit and Pecan Pie

Taken before the presents were opened -
it's a lot emptier under the tree now!
Hope you're having a wonderful holiday week!  It's been a bit like Mom & Dad's Bed & Breakfast around here, and it's been great.  Good food, lots of laughter and stories, good natured games of Trivial Pursuit, lots of pecan pie, sleeping late...

No time with the beads, but that's on the docket for the weekend.  For now, I'm curled up on the sofa, tucked under a snuggly blanket, reveling in holiday laziness.  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

From Gallery To Reality - The Custom Tale

A couple of months ago, I celebrated here (with no little sense of wonder) that this necklace had been selected to be part of an exhibition a the Kentucky Artisans Center.  

A short time later, a gentleman contacted me, asking if I could recreate the necklace, without the woven centerpiece, at 20" long.

If you've ever done custom work, you understand how this seemingly simple request can hid any number of unexpected stumbling blocks.

The biggest problem for me was that I no longer had any more of the cobalt blue oval beads.  The tiger iron, bone, and jasper?  Check, check, and check.  But not the blue.

Thinking the shape was perhaps the important thing to preserve, I suggested some sodalite ovals that I had on hand.  But it was the pop of the vibrant color, rather than the bead shape, that he was after, so I was on a search for beads in the proper shade of blue.  Oddly enough, it's really, REALLY hard to find a vibrant cobalt blue bead that isn't too light or too gray.  Especially when you're desperate to find them.

Several tries later, we hit on success:

Lapis was the answer!
So this was mailed off earlier this week, and I hope that it's now wrapped and waiting under a Christmas tree, ready to make someone smile!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Fun (Non-Beady) Birthday Breakfast

If you're looking for my Challenge of Color reveal, go here!

Yesterday was my birthday.  It wasn't one of the big decade days, but we no longer put one candle per year on a cake, for fear of setting off smoke alarms, having the fire department show up, alarming the neighbors, and then not having enough cake to share with the neighborhood (plus, with all those candles, the cake would be covered in wax, and no one wants that!)

I did do something shameless and begged put out a request for folks on Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Cafe page to like my Beadsong Jewelry facebook page. Shameless, I admit it.  (By the way, if you haven't liked my FB page, maybe you'd consider it....I know, SHAMELESS!!!)

After my shameless plea, sweet husband took me out for a lovely breakfast out at a fun local restaurant known for its kitschy decor (they sponsor an Ugly Lamp Contest each year at the State Fair and put the winners on the restaurant tables) and its ample servings.

Kitschy decor, did you say?  This was how the sugar packets were stored on our table:

I'm not sure what happened to these dogs' bodies, or why it makes sense
for them to be on a piece of toast....
Ample portions, did you say?  These were our breakfasts:

This photo was taken on an angle because I was falling
over at the thought of trying to eat all of this food!
Do you see the size of those biscuits?!  Yes, those are biscuits.  Slabs o' biscuits. My first apartment wasn't that big.  You could slap four radial tires on one of those things and it would still be bigger than my first car.  

No, neither of us cleaned our plates.  But it was an epic start to a lovely day.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Challenge of Color - Rolling Down the River

Welcome to my little piece of the 3rd Annual Challenge of Color!  Y'all just grab a comfy place to settle in and come along.

Each participant was given two palettes derived from photos in the US Geological Services'  Earth As Art Gallery, which uses various satellite images, filtered to emphasize colors in the spectrum we normally don't perceive.  We were only required to use one palette, but of course I couldn't choose, so in typical "why just dive off the cliff when you can jump off backwards and throw in a few somersaults along the way" fashion, I did both.

And both of my palettes are rivers.  First, the Ghadamis River, an ancient riverbed in Libya:

Desert Riverbed Pendant of amazonite,  peruvian opal, strawberry quartz and seed beads
The Peruvian opals were the starting point here.  They matched the palette perfectly, and the striations of color in the gemstone mimic the natural striations of the landscape. I wanted to somehow capture the feathery effect of the landscape along with the colors.  The branched fringe I tried first was just fugly, so I settled on loopy fringe instead.

Here they are side by side:


The second palette is called Meandering Mississippi:

And here's my Mississippi Mud Romance necklace:

The cubes were the first thing I pulled out of the stash, because they were a perfect match for the olive green in the palette.  Then it occurred to me that I had the sterling silver squiggle in a pile of UFO's, where I had envisioned it as the starting point for a bracelet that never happened.  Throw in a little freeform peyote, some woven leather the color of rich Mississippi mud, a hand-forged sterling clasp, and there you've got it.

And the side by side:


And what does "Romance" have to do with Mississippi Mud?  On our first date, my husband and I shared a truly decadent chocolate miracle of the baker's craft called Mississippi Mud Pie.  Any man who would (a) order such a fantastic dessert and (b) share it with me was obviously a keeper.

Anyway, with great thanks to Erin and Brandi who organized this wonderful challenge (thanks, ladies!!), here are the other folks playing along with this challenge.  Thanks for stopping by, leave a comment if you like, and go check out the rest of the hoppers:

Rebecca Anderson
Chrizette Bayman
Lori Bowring Michaud
Courtney Breul
Stephanie Buss
Cece Cormier
Janice Everett
Cherrie Fick
Denielle Hagerman
Karla Hartzog
Kim Hora
Brandi Hussey
Sue Kennedy
Ema Kilroy
Linda Landig
Kirsi Luostarinen
Alicia Marinache
Mary K McGraw
Karen Mitchell
Kashmira Patel
Bobbie Rafferty (yay - you're here!!!)
Nicole Rennell
Sally Russick
Annie Scherz
Renetha Stanziano
Melissa Trudinger
Shelley Graham Turner
Rachel Van-Walsk
Joan Williams

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Being Challenged

Friday is the reveal day for the Third Annual Challenge of Color blog hop, hosted by the amazing Erin of Treasures Found and Brandi of BrandigirlBlog.

There are beads all over my house, and I'm working hard to get the final work done and photographed in time for the reveal.  (Truth be told, there are usually beads all over my house -- I'm just using the convenient excuse of the challenge to justify it this week.)

Hope to see you back here on Friday to see the results!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Meteorological Discoveries for Today

Meteorological truism #37: Even if the wind has been dead calm for three weeks, the surest way to make it kick up again is for me to walk into the yard with a rake in hand.  And it will blow continuously for the rest of the day.  Guaranteed.

Meteorological truism #54: No matter where you're raking the leaves to, the wind will automatically change direction to blow them in exactly the opposite direction, generally as soon as you've gotten them neatly in a pile to be bagged.

Meteorological truism #67: The leaf bags will not stay in place (see truism #37), particularly when you are first trying to fill them.  Holding the bag open with your feet and trying to rake the leaves into it by sweeping them in through your legs is inefficient and only serves to amuse the neighbors.  (See also: futility)

And this, my friends, is why I was considering a glass of wine in the middle of the afternoon.  I settled for a slice of pecan pie and my bead tray.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, Or What Happens After The Pie

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you are spending the day the way you wish.

In our house, the table is nearly set

The serving pieces are ready for the bird and the sides
even if the photo loaded sideways....
and after the pie (we're split evenly between pumpkin and pecan in our family), the dishes are washed (or at least piled artistically in the sink), and we're all sprawled like beached whales on the sofa watching football, here's what Mama will be doing:

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you.  I am thankful for the joy, laughs, inspiration, and eye candy each of you have shared with me here through the past year.

Now, go eat some pie!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Last Show, New Table Drapes, and Ham Hocks

This past weekend was the last show in my fall season - six shows as opposed to the two or three that have been normal for the past few years.  Whew.

It was also the debut of my new table covers, necessitated by the realization a couple of weeks ago that my old covers were irredeemably ugly worn out.  Many of you were wonderful with your suggestions of new colors, and I thank you for your input.  My goal was to find fabric that was sturdy enough for repeated use (bed sheets would be too lightweight), somewhat neutral so as not to compete visually with the jewelry itself, but visually interesting enough to make my booth pop out among others (beige was out, unless I wanted to look like a booth full of oatmeal).  

I fell in love with some beautiful striped fabric in shades of soft teals and greens, but it was too similar to another local jewelry maker -- didn't want people to get confused.  So here's what I decided on (insert drum roll here...)

I'm pretty pleased with them! The show wouldn't allow my type of tent, so I had to use their pipe and drape instead of my regular curtains and sides -- normally the walls will all be beige.

And so where do the ham hocks come into the mix?  My sweet husband came with me to the show and took me out for dinner on Saturday night.  I hadn't eaten lunch during the show, and I was starving.  The menu had something called "Ham Hock Ragout" described as pork in a smoked tomato sauce.  I expected a modest serving of pork in a delicate smoky sauce.  What came out was a piece of meat that was larger than my first car.  Seriously.  It was a full-on medieval feast, Henry VIII moment.  And yes, I ate almost all of it.  Then I waddled back to the hotel...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How Do We Celebrate the End of The Fall Show Season?

By entering a blog challenge, of course!!

I'll be taking part of the Challenge of Color, revealed on November 30.  Read more about it here and here.

Woo hoo - one more show this weekend, then I can hole up in my bead room and create something for this hop.  Will you be hopping, too?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and the Weekend Show

This weekend was show #5 out of my six shows this fall/winter.  It was an indoor show featuring the members of the local artisans guild.

Here's the good -- I bought new lights for my new tent, and it really made a huge difference in the visibility of the work.  Sparkly goodness!

Bonus points - the lights were nice and warm.  Good in a cold venue!

Here's the bad -- these table covers have been worked hard for the past couple of years, and they're looking rough.  Wrinkly, saggy, puckered...I'd say they look like my butt and thighs, but bless their heart, they make my butt and thighs look good by comparison.  Time to replace them.  (The table covers, that is.)

No amount of ironing will salvage these babies.

And here's the ugly.  We can use our tents indoors, without the tops.  I was on the outer row, where the ceiling of the building slants down.  As I raised the tent, I heard a worrisome thud.  Thank goodness we didn't hit the sprinkler head, and thank goodness the acoustic panel dropped right back into place as the tent was lowered after the show.  Whew!

Oh, my, I was sweating this all weekend!
So before the next show I need to buy some fabric to make new table covers.  Any suggestions on color?  If I do a pattern, it has to be subtle, since the beadwork has so much going on visually on its own.  Yes, that will be me, wandering the aisles in Joann Fabrics tomorrow evening...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Another Project Is Eating My Worktable

If you've been dropping into this blog for a while, you may know that I tend to take on large projects.  Big, worktable eating projects that initially seem like a great idea but soon have me wondering what the heck I was thinking.

After a few thousand nights hours and hours of working at these table-eaters, I'm usually pleased with the results.  But holy crap, they do suck up some hours.

And darned if I didn't do it again.  Here's a peek at the latest project that's devouring my worktable.

Still not entirely sure what this will become.  I have had several ideas along the way, but the ideas keep shifting and changing.

So it's back to step by step progress, do a little bit and then set it aside.  The project has moved forward a bit beyond the stage in the photo, but I think it's time for it to sit and marinate for a while.

I'll keep you posted...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Under the Alabama Pines - Old Friends and New

Y'all, I've been terribly remiss in posting about one of the best weekends I've had in a long, long time. 

A couple of weekends ago, I was part of the Kentuck Festival, a fabulous art show outside Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where my family and I lived for nearly 15 years.  Pat and I went down a day early so we'd have time to visit old friends and co-workers, eat in some of our favorite restaurants, drive by our old house (several times), wander around the University of Alabama campus, and generally soak up the atmosphere of the town we raised our kids in.

Here's Pat, getting ready to satisfy a culinary craving.
Seriously, I have dreams about this restaurant's sausage and roasted peppers.
Here's a glimpse of the view from my booth shortly before we opened on Saturday -- there were about 280 artists in all.  See the beautiful tall pine trees?  I had nearly forgotten the aroma of a pine forest in the autumn.  Fantastic.

The visit back "home" was great.  The show was great.  I saw people I hadn't seen in seven years.  I hugged more people and caught up on more news than I could have imagined.  And one of the highlights was getting to meet Therese of Therese's Treasures!

Funny coincidence -- I knew Therese's brother when I lived in Alabama.  Realized the connection by accident in an online conversation with Therese here on the beading blogs.  Wild, huh?

Anyway, not only did Therese gift me with a lovely visit, she slipped me a sweet little gift...

yes, the beautiful ribbon wrapped around the box
will find its way into a piece of jewelry

A beautiful Therese-woven pendant, earrings with beads by (I'm guessing)
JulsBeads, and a couple of lovely cabochons.  She spoiled me!!

And I'm here to tell you that not only is Therese a wonderful and generous lady who always has a kind comment here on the blogs, but she's magic -- as soon as she came to my booth, customers started crowding in, trying things on and making purchases.  She was my good luck charm that day.  Thanks for everything, Therese!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Visiting One of My "Babies"

Yesterday I volunteered at an art show about two hours away.  It was a guild I'm a member of, and since I couldn't be there all weekend as an exhibitor, I agreed to help out on Sunday.

On the way back home, I stopped by the Kentucky Artisans Center in Berea, where one of my necklaces is in their current exhibition, to see how my "baby" looked in the show.

With apologies for the quality of the photo (I was trying to be stealthy with my phone camera so I wouldn't get yelled at by the show police for taking pictures), here's the necklace.

It's a combination of ndebele, stringing, and needle weaving in the style of Helen Banes and Diane Fitzgerald, with the ndebele section serving as the heart of the centerpiece.

The exhibition is titled The Threads That Bind: Textiles by Kentucky Artisans.  Now I certainly don't consider myself a fiber artist (as you may know, I'd rather smack myself in the face with a flounder than hem a pair of pants), but it was a treat to see my little necklace alongside the beautiful quilts and fiber wallpieces that were also part of the show.  It's kind of amazing how much fancier a piece looks when you slap it up under a glass cover!

Here's a better picture, one taken by a professional who wasn't worried about getting thrown out of the room for having a camera.  You can get a much better idea of the bead weaving from this:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I Promised I Wouldn't Do This...

...but apparently I lied.  Or was easily tempted to change my mind.  Or had a bead that was too perfect to ignore.

Let's go with #3.

I swore I wouldn't do another challenge until after the holidays, but the other night I heard a little voice saying "Psst, hey, I'd be perfect for this month's Art Bead Scene Challenge."

What, you don't hear your beads talking to you?  Okay, maybe it's partially the fever I've been fighting for a couple of days, but I'll let you be the judge.  Here's the inspiration artwork this month, Revolving by Kirt Schwitters.

Revolving by Kirt Schwitters 1919
Assemblage-Wood, metal, cord, cardboard, wool, wire, leather, and oil on canvas
48 3/8" x 35" (122.7 x 88.7 cm)
Museum of Modern Art, New York

And on the work table, just begging to answer this challenge, was a lovely lampwork swirl focal by Nikki Thornburg-Lanigan.  So here's what it became:

Okay, I admit it.  I'm weak and give into the beady temptation too easily.  Can you blame me?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Excavation, Part 2

The discoveries as part of the studio relocation continue!

Here are some simple peyote rings that were hiding at the back of a shelf.  A little dusty, but not really any the worse for wear.

And here's a fun cocktail ring with vintage rhinestone chain.  Also buried under layers of studio crap, a little fuzzy and in need of cleaning up, waiting to be rediscovered.

In my next life, maybe I'll be an archaeologist.  Then again, I'd have to bury all the stuff for myself to discover, so that doesn't seem to hold much potential...

Okay, I'll stick with jewelry making.  And for the foreseeable future, studio moving.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Excavation, Part 1

Moving the studio is an enlightening process.

Okay, it's also a giant pain in the butt, but I'm a "glass half full" kinda gal.

Anyway, in the process, I've found a couple of interesting things -- half-completed projects, forgotten pieces,      etc, etc, etc...

Here's one piece I found that had been lying around, waiting for its clasp to be fabricated and woven on.

"Swirl", the newly rediscovered and completed necklace

I remember buying the focal bead in D.C. about, oh, three years ago, and working the necklace up pretty quickly after I got home again.  Why it sat unfinished for so long is one of those archaeological mysteries best left for the ages.

Anyway, it's done and completed, and ready to go to Alabama for my next show in a few weeks.

Can't wait to see what else turns up during this studio move!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wherein The Waldo Bead is Located and A Studio Begins To Move

The other night, when I was working at the bead table much later than I should have, I dropped a bead that was crucial to finishing the second earring in a half-completed pair onto the Oriental carpet in my studio.

It was too late, too dark, and too tiny a bead for me to worry about at that moment (although you will note that I took time to document my klutziness here).  I nicknamed the wayward bead "Waldo" because it was impossible to spot, and went to bed.

However, the sun rose, I arose, and Waldo Bead was located.  The earrings were completed, and as promised, here they are:

Can't get the photo to rotate the right way.  Imagine this 90 degrees to the left....

Coincidentally, as part of our plans to get our house ready to put on the market (time to downsize), I'm moving my studio to another room in the house.  Because our daughter is now nearly done with graduate school and only comes home for visits, I've appropriated half of her room.  Great light, and look at that carpet -- SO much easier to spot the wayward escaping beads!

The move is nowhere near complete, but it's getting there!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Why I'll Be Going to Joann's Fabrics Soon

Have you visited the fabulousness that is Sarah Sequin's Sequintastic September blog hop?  It's a terrific collection of jewelry, fiber, and mixed media artists who have come together to create something with sequins.

I did not participate, being on a self-imposed challenge hiatus so that my head wouldn't explode by adding one more obligation to an already-stuffed autumn/winter.

But I've been so inspired by what everyone made, I am going to have to head over to Joann's Fabrics as soon as possible to buy them out make a modest purchase of sequins.  I already have ideas of what to do with where's that 40% off coupon?!?

What are you still doing here?  Go check out the hop!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Playing "Where's Waldo" With Beads

If you're looking for the Blog 5 (Plus1) post, go here!

My current bead room has an oriental run covering most of the floor.

Beautiful, right?  Not when you drop beads on it.

There is a 4mm emerald faceted firepolished bead somewhere on this carpet.

What, can't you see the bead? Yeah, me neither.
The escapee's companions.  They may know where the other one fell,
but they're not talking.

Normally, I would let this go and figure it's just more fodder for the vacuum cleaner.  But I'm in the middle of making the second earring in a woven set, and now I'm ONE FLIPPING GREEN BEAD SHORT.  So now I'm going to have to play "Where's Waldo" with the bead, or find a customer who likes to wear only one earring.

Yes, that will be me, on my hands and knees, peering like a CSI investigator at the rug, muttering vaguely vulgar words under my breath...If I find the bead, I'll post a photo of the completed earrings!