Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The days after Christmas are now a blur of many meals, games of marbles, cries of delight and despair of trying out all the new beading ideas in the book Mastering Beadwork by Carol Huber Cypher that Bambi and Dorje gave me. By Monday morning I was ready to put Christmas away and get into the other book from Bambi - Making Polymer Clay Beads by Carol Blackburn. Down came the tree, two desks were cleared and shoved together, and out came the poly clay tools!

All day Monday we barely stopped for meals - cookies provided instant nourishment. We each picked a project to learn. I had tried to learn to do a folded bead earlier so I was eager to try Blackburn's method. It worked fairly well and I was pleased with the result except that we had added to our batch one clay of a different temperature (what happens when people share old clays without labelling). It evidently began to burn and darkened the white part of the beads. I gave it a bit more light by trying out another new idea - using acrylic floor wax to give the bead a shine.

Both Bambi and Dorje were great at making stacks of layers of color so I moved on to applying layers of sliced mixtures to beads. That resulted in this combination from two color sensibilities.

What I loved most was hearing one of us say, "Oh I have created a terrible bead." and then to see someone pick it up and began to work with it until there was a shout. "Hey look what I made out of your old bead!" This happened several times as we surprised ourselves and each other.
Bambi made this combination out of two different "failures."

Tuesday found us right back at the clay tables. Dorje claimed this was better than Christmas. We knew this was our last full day together so in the afternoon, after putting the clay and tools away, Bambi and Dorje took advantage of some sunshine to go to the beach.
While they were gone I laid out all the supplies for stringing and all the polymer beads I had made earlier and the new ones. After a dinner of meatloaf and baked potatoes, we settled down to string. This one piece I made with Bambi's beads.

Each of us stared at the bounty until we began to "see" certain beads coming together. On to this small pile we would add beads from other boxes and bags and began to string. By midnight (we celebrated New Year's Eve a day early) the two of us had eleven new necklaces - all with polymer clay beads.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

When Bambi and Dorje arrived, within the first hour they were showing me these rings they had designed and made. The first time I got to sit down with my beads I had to try one myself.

Then last night we differed on what to cook for dinner so they went off to the cabin to make spaghetti and we had old soup. This gave me the evening alone with my beads and I ended up embellishing a ring. I cannot believe what joy embellishing brings me. It seems it is too easy and too quick to string beads or make a ring, but the time spent in embellishing is pure bliss.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Family arrived safely, the tree is surrounded by gay packages, and already we have been sharing bead ideas. Bambi had done a neat bracelet with right-angle weave embellished with top beads.
As soon as everyone left for bed I had to bead to settle down by figuring out what she had done and this is what I did.
It is amazing how different the results when two different people, even related as daughter/mother, do the same stitch. Basically we only made a row of boxes with 2 seed beads, one hex cut, 2 seed beads, one hex cut, 2 seed beads, one hex cut, 2 seed beads and one hex cut. After the length of boxes is reached, one secures the squareness by using larger beads (I used an #11 gold seed bead on each end of the pearl - Bambi used 2 seed beads to cover the thread in and out of the larger bead) to sew from corner to corner. Mine took less than an hour to make.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hmmm. . . was trying to find a way to get this blog 'out there' so it could have a greater audience and I stumbled on to Am thinking of applying for a job there writing about beading. It is certainly my passion, and I have learned alot, and I enjoy thinking up new ways of doing things. Two days before Christmas with family on its way is no time to be thinking of taking on additional work, but I am finding only this thought gives me comfort and delight.
With my pre-Christmas jitters I wish I could simply turn off my head and jump over the holidays, but I have tried that. So I will bead on my tree as much as I can until they finally arrive and then lay aside my life and be mom and oma the rest of the year. I am hoping that what I do not make they will and I can show that / those.

Monday, December 22, 2008

When I went to town to take down the jewelry net at the Point Arena Holiday Store, I first went on to the S&B Market in Manchester andgot a wooden dowel to use for my tree. The only one they had in the size I wanted was broken so I took the two pieces and offered to pay for them, but the lady gave them to me. Good sign for the work.

Back in Point Arena, after a lovely ride through showers, I did take down my net, got lots of comments on it and a request from the show organizers to do it again for Valentine's day. The 50% off sale really worked as I only had about 25 items left. Originally there 172. I have not yet even looked into the cash envelope. Just knowing that many pieces found new homes was satisfaction enough for me. I will dig into the envelope though when I need to pay my next bead bill.

After a shower all I wanted to do was to get to work on redoing parts of the tree that did not fit the dowel.

My house was clean, the Christmas lights were on, and I beaded to my heart's content. Then I got out the autoharp and had myself a Merry little Solstice sing.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

When there is good music on the radio I can happily bead for hours. My new thought with the trees last night was that I can affect the shape by varying the increases. Makes sense now. So I took out half of the layers and got a fatter tree and also got a second tree out of the leftovers. Now I really feel I am ready to go forward with the project. Am hoping to get to the hardware store today to either get a wooden dowel or metal rod for the center support. Also need to order another pound of beads.

This aftertoon I will be gallery sitting in the Point Arena Holiday Store. Am eager to go in to see if much sold last night. The whole town had a holiday shopping event last night with stores staying open like in the olden days. It is very easy for the years to slip away from Point Arena.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I am so thrilled. I finally figured out how to make a smooth center for my tree idea. Have made so many of these and each time I was vaguely unhappy with the way the beads gathered around the center hole. Then last night when I started a new one the idea came to me to put an #11 between each of the #6s and suddenly the circle was firm and round. Such a small thing, but it is this kind of discovery that makes beading so interesting to me.

Beading also helped my husband get through his fears of Christmas shopping. This morning he said, "Do I have to get you a gift?" Gladly I could pull out the recent unopened order from Happy Mango Beads and lay it in a conspicuous place with a ribbon. Too late I got the email they were offering the recycled glass beads at 20% off.

Little does my husband know another order from Caravan Beads - is on its way. Only they have the hex beads I like so much for this kind of work.

These were one of my best sellers this gifting season and I used many for my gifts so I only have partial vials of leftovers. I took this photo trying to get a bead magazine interested in the project but it was rejected. So I blog along.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

At a show, one customer suggested that I deepen my amulet bags so a credit card would fit into it. By not having a flap but a ruffled edge at the top, the card could be easily accessed but would not slip out. I am surely out of step with the economy and people who shop only with a credit card, but I had to try out the suggestion last night. This was the result. If you look closely at the photo there are the very subtle plus signs as a wish for increased funds.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oh, I almost forgot. On Sunday I dropped by the Holiday Store to take this photo and I met a Navajo woman admiring my beadwork. What a compliment! We continued our conversations as we left and started down the street. Then she mentioned one bracelet she admired and wondered how I had made it. So we went back and I could put it on her arm. In the photo is not the woman I met but Ling-Yen Jones, the new owner of the gallery. Doesn't this look like a neat place to visit as you drive up Highway One through Point Arena?
Whew! I made it! Have been wanting to get back to record so many things but the mornings have all been too short. I have an unwritten rule that I am off the computer by noon. I had thought that since I spend so many hours beading it would be easy to take 15 minutes out to blog, but blogging comes on the other end of my day.

However, here I am and here is a photo of the brooch back that I described earlier.

I did finally did get to work on two first attempts.

And then I added roses. I have been feeling that beads alone are too 'hard' and need the softening effect of ribbons. I see now the middle rose needs stabilising so it sits properly.

I did get the new supply of santa earrings done so I am free to play around with the brooches tonight.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The holidays are already bending my routines. Time normally gladly given to beading have been preempted by past lives' activities. On Tuesday I finished rubber carving and stamping the over 100 New Years Day cards. On Sunday I found out that my carving days are definately over as the ox I tried to carve turned out to look like a bloated cow just ready to die. I gave up and used a scan of another ox. I belong to a group that exchanges New Years greetings and haiku. Mine was:

an ox brings

blossoms from the sun

a new year

Late in the evening I picked up my beads again, marvelling how clean they were, how easy to place properly, and how satisfying to be pulling a thread instead of banging on the desk. Now I know why I gave up stamping, too.

Then yesterday I was looking forward to getting back to the brooch backs and beginning that new project when I noticed all my trays were filled with unfinished projects. But before I could begin on one of them I talked to my daughter on her 51st birthday. Without meaning to, I asked her what she wanted for Christmas. Her answer was she was out of the potholders I crochet. BB (before beading) when I was nervous the only thing that would quiet me was crocheting potholders. Every one who knew me nearly swam in potholders. However, all that energy now goes into beads. But for my kid I put away the beads and made potholders.

Again, before going to bed I did have a lovely hour mindlessly beading on the Christmas trees. Again how good to touch the glass of beads and what a joy the sparkly colors are. The thinner thread is so much easier to handle than crochet cotton. These two days have showed me again why I enjoy beading so much.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I checked out the perforated discs offered by Fire Mountain and was not happy with the idea that the pin-back disk must be 'glued' to the perforated half. So I got out a bunch of #6s and began to do a variation of the ladder stitch but worked it in a circular pattern so I had a flat surface full of holes. The only thing to remember is: when adding a bead, re-enter the same bead from the other side. When adding reinforcement, enter the next bead from the same side (back or front). I sewed a normal little pin back to that. I made a couple of different sizes and shapes and am eager to get off the computer to begin embellishing them.
I realized that making flowers is the easiest thing to do but how many flower brooches does the world need? Am thinking making compositions, like a tiny abstract painting in beads with various levels. Lots to think of and I am raring to soak up some sunshine and inspiration.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Okay, one day later. . . Ha!
Was working on a larger beaded piece and after only two days have discovered I need new engineering to make the piece work. On one hand I love solving problems with beading and on the other I hand I resent time spent building armatures to hold up the piece when I would rather be beading.
All the Santa earrings have sold in Point Arena and I am debating whether to make more. I saved the vials of beads I would need in one place so I would not have to search for them. I was surprised I did that because when I finished the last ones I told myself they were the last ones.
We will see what comes to hand tonight.
I read somewhere that Michele Obama wears and collects brooches, so it is guessed that brooches will be the big new fashion accessory this next year. Am off to Fire Mountain to order those holey forms.
My first new day of blogging here and I fail to show up! I was writing and writing about beads and here it is - an article for the local newspaper:

Point Arena Holiday Store open two more weekends

On Main Street the red and yellow building, formerly CityArt Gallery, is filled with an amazing array of unique gift items made by sixteen local artists. The shop will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon until four through December 21.. For the special shopping event, sponsored by Point Arena merchants on Friday December 19, the store will be open until 8 p.m. serving wine and tasty holiday treats.
Not only do these sixteen artisans bring diverse skills and ideas to their one-of-a-kind items, most offer several gifts for all members of the family and the person most difficult to shop for on your list.
Ceramic bowls, pitchers, mugs and a fountain
Artistic sterling silver jewelry
Pewter spoons, tree decorations, as well a jewelry
A variety of dolls for adults
Candles and candle plates
Cards, hand-colored, framed lithographs in all sizes
An assortment of matted prints
Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, amulet bags by six different beaders and bead-makers
Birdhouses, clocks, and wall jokes
Pillows, lamps, scarves, ties and even bowties
Framed photos of our area
Soaps, tarot cards, button necklaces, and peaceful jewelry to support the environment
Knitted purses and hats of all kinds and sizes
Paintings, soft wall sculptures
Dinnerware and wildly decorated ties
Long skirts for the ladies
Dream-catchers, belt buckles, and more jewelry with stones
T-shirts, toy bears, kits to teach knotting or stamping, candy
Other items from the Lighthouse Gift Shop for one-stop shopping
Stop by for a cup of coffee, cookies, chips and dip and meet and greet your friends in the warmth of true down-home atmosphere.

When you shop locally, and buy something made by a friend or neighbor, your dollar goes three times as far. Not only can you give someone a very special gift, but the same money you spend for it also supports all of us while also giving an artist the satisfaction of having made something you wanted. That is perhaps the greatest gift you can give.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Holiday Store opens in Point Arena CA

Last night the old CityArt Gallery reopened its doors for a three-week holiday store. It felt so good to have the lights on again, to see the walls filled with color, and to greet old, and some new, friends gathered around food and wine. We had live music with lute and accordion, and over twenty artisans showing their work.

Six of us had jewelry, so it is no surprise that sales of jewelry topped all the other items offered.

Since everything had been removed from the gallery when it was put up for sale, exhibitors had to bring tables. I had no way of transporting or setting up a table, I devised this method of showing my work. I hand crocheted string into a net and using hooks made for closures, hung the over 150 items. This way people could touch and handle them but the hooks kept the pieces from walking out the door. By using only wall space I was able to be directly in front of the front desk for additional protection.
Even though I found my solution less than elegant, many people complimented me on my ingenuity and the display was in keeping with the country store atmosphere in this tiny town of less than 1,000.
The highlight of the evening for me was when two women came up to me both holding on to one bracelet. Neither would let go until I promised to make another one.
In addition to many empty places on the net by the end of the evening, I got a jewelry repair job, two commissions and the owner of Everything Under the Sun , Lena, asked if I would put my beaded things in her shop.
After I came home, it felt so good to put my feet up and to return beading on my Christmas tree earrings (which had all sold).