Friday, February 27, 2009

The storms blew away and the sun came out. I got a photo of the tree group and I am not happy. Somehow the whole thing is less than it was in my mind. It may be that I just need to get away from it for a bit.
Today looking at the photo I can see the "bald spots" in the tree. Also the star got turned sideways. New photo, new angle. . .

I tried knocking out some beads but the rug still did not lie flat. And I really did not like the bit of rug in the photo, so how to explain my starting a new round 'rug?' I confess I am. I love those colors and since many of the beads are hex-cut they throw off marvelous colors as the rows go around.
The studio should be warmer today so I am hoping I get the letters glued on to the third and last panel for the haiku book. It is so tempting to just sit in my chair and go around with the rug.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Got three new items made for under the tree. A little red wagon (the wheels really turn), a top, and a big green package. I used the diagonal stripe stitch that I used on the needlecases and pill boxes. I had some green beads that I was sure were not enough for a pill box (they were not) but just the right number to make a package. Added peyote stitched gold ribbon. In less than hour later Bu Kitty had claimed it, knocked it to the floor and attempted to hide it from me.
I put the tree together and am really pleased with its shape and how it looks. Finally! I cannot believe how many days I spent just on that one part of the piece.
The rug is being a beast though. I thought that I could work it lose enough but at the ends, where the oval bends, the beads are bunching and the thing will not lie flat. I will try knocking out some of the up-poping beads, and if that does not work, will start the rug over and make it round instead of oval.
If the sun comes out, I want to photograph the whole set-up. I have found that I can see a work better when it is photographed than looking at it in the real. I am so caught up in whatever I make, I can never be really critical as long as it feels as if it is "mine." That was how I found out the tree needed more ornaments.
Yesterday, just on a whim, I did order the revolving display stand. Afterwards I realized that when the works are judged, only the first round of judging is by photograph. If one makes it through that, then one sends them the actual piece for the final round. So glad I followed my feelings, because I think it will be the best thing for the work.
Last night, as I put away my beading tray, I glanced over at the tree. To my delight the AB finish on the crystals was glowing in blues, gold, and red - so the crystals do shine in colors just like lights on a tree!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The order from Fire Mountain arrived so last night I was able to finish (I thought) adding the crystal lights.
However, I see, when I scanned in this "branch" that I missed some!

When I took a quick photo of the whole thing for the bead group meeting, I could see that the upper branches needed to have the ornaments put on more thickly. So last night I used up all the "ivory" birds and animals and most of the good crystals. But I see I must check each branch for things I may have missed - like some lights.
The 6mm crystals at the bottom really do a great job of 'catching the light.' I keep debating if I should spend $80 for a turntable so the whole scene will revolve. That would make the AB covered crystals flash out the colored lights just the way I imagined it. Having the work revolve would not make it more attractive for judging or for photographing, but it would greatly enhance one's enjoyment of the final scene. I am close to throwing caution to the winds and ordering the revolving stand just so I can enjoy all my hard work. If they made one that played music too, there would be no more hesitation.

Am still working on the rug and have two more toys in my mind's eye.

Monday, February 23, 2009

We are getting lots of rain - finally - so now I have an excuse not to go outdoors or to go to the studio to glue more letters in the haiku book.
Therefore I gained great progress with the rug. The Delicas really slow me down and I have not had the courage to try two or three bead stitches so now I only have three inches done. I figure I need the rug to be about nine inches across to have the proper relationship to the rest of the scene. All in all, I am pleased with the colors. They have the warmth and old look I wanted.
This colors are the result of my loving the beads in the center, and forgetting to save the package. Every time I ordered from Fire Mountain I would attempt to order the same beads without the number. This palette are all the mistakes I got instead. It feels good to be ableto use them up and the way they go together is better than I could have planned.
I started the rug the way one would start a braided rug. Beads do not make the smooth curve fabric does and I doubt that it will ever be oval, but it gives the feeling for a braided rug. I think. I wish it laid flatter. I am trying to keep my stitches very loose, but the finished project is going to need some serious retraining.
Looking in a book of Christmas carols I got the idea of how to make a spinning top and am eager to get bored with the rug so I can make that.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Okay, here is the blog I should have written yesterday.

Thursday I was beading away on the projects and more than slightly bored when the phone rang. It was Lena from her store Everything Under the Sun in Point Arena.

Since the Holiday Store in December she has displayed some of my beaded things. However, the one item that gets the most attention is a lizard she has but refuses to sell. Still she loves having it on the counter by the cash register. When people ask about it she gives them one of my cards. Then on that day she got a customer who would not give up. She really wanted the lizard and offered any price for it. As compromise, Lena called me.

I was glad to take up a new beading project and talked to Amanda. She said she wanted one that was green and yellow and about 7 inches long. To my surprise she said she wanted it for a key chain. This was good news as I hate sewing on those lapel pin backs.

The next day she came by and picked up her brand new lizard. I liked the color scheme and made a second one to show you here.

Since the discussions about posting on Etsy, I am thinking of starting out with the line of lizards and taking my name from that. However I do so much else, I hate to be limited by lizards! Open to suggestions here.
Yesterday I was all prepared with my story for this blog and then, I cannot believe this happened! I spent the precious time watching videos on YouTube of Nora the cat playing the piano :
I watched the sequel, the piano tuner sequence, the "Nora defends her piano" and the Holiday Greeting and then I watched them all over again. This was so not something I would do. I think I was having a small possession.
I really had to get off the computer at noon because we had a meeting of our bead group at the Gualala Arts Center. It was a good thing we had the classroom upstairs as we had so many people show up we never could have managed in the Conference Room. The show and tell table was very bare. Rhoda had brought some bead extras to sell and Vicki had snatched up a toaster oven at Pay N' Take for only $4 which Rhoda bought. This bent our minds to working on the polyclays. Then Judy showed up with a really classy necklace and to our surprise she had made it out of polyclay. I wish I had gone downstairs to get my camera to take a picture of it, but I was so tired (a big storm was coming in) the idea never formed.
Then while talking to Barbara, a new member who weaves tubes out of wire (it is not as easy to do as she made it look - I tried it and made a huge mess) also was telling us of a class she had taken that taught how to transfer photo images to clay. This got us fired up and we easily agreed to do polyclay next month - March 21.
This group is very loose - in the very best way. Instead of focusing everyones attention on one person, 99% of the time we sit by each other and talk one on one. It is really amazing how this works. At some time each person makes the rounds seeing that others are working on and discusses this or that and then moves on to the next interesting project.
The only time we all listened to anybody was when Sue said that even though she was knitting more than she was beading, she was glad to send out the meeting announcements and we all murmured our "thanks" and she was re-elected to the only official office of the group. She had the presence of mind to remind us that we needed to discuss our meeting times because Kathy works at the post office in Point Arena until noon and can only get to the meeting by 2:00. Someone said maybe we could have people who need to learn or fix something to come at 1:00 and the rest of us would come from 2:00 to 4:00. Some nods and yeses and we turned back to our work.
Vicki is probably the most responsible for making sure people show up for the meeting. The orders she sends to Fire Mountain are delivered to her and everyone wants to get their hands on the new things! The other advantage of this group buying is we all get to see what others have ordered. It is hard sometimes to order items we can only see photos of, but here we get to touch them and copy down the order number.
Marianne had gotten several varieties of the fabric covered beads, which I, with my less sophisticated search techniques, could not find. These are really interesting beads and I doubt I would have been interested in them if I had not been able to touch them. Now to get my two projects done so I can return to jewelry making.
Star, who makes marvelous stained glass windows and wind chimes, came for the first time. Her daughter works across the street from Legendary Beads in Santa Rosa so she had gotten hooked very neatly. It was interesting to note that her only beads were various shapes and sizes of the crystals - the closest to the colored glass panels she could find in beads.
Claire came wanting to learn the brick stitch so I sat down to teach her. At one point she said she would probably need written instructions to remember it all, I looked around and saw several bead magazines spread on the table. They were from Sue who rips out what she wants to keep and then passes the zines along to others. I think Sue and I have some kind of strange karma. Any time there is something I want or need at a meeting, she has it and gives like a sister. We do this over and over. I am always touched by shivers as it happens again.
Lynne came with her seeing-eye dog and made baskets. She embellishes them with beads. She is always interested in what we are doing and it is so good to smell her baskets. We are constantly amazed at what she does. She was describing a current project where she makes lidded containers that stack up like a wedding cake and how it is possible to nest them all into the bottom section.
Rhoda was supposed to make a presentation about how to sell beads but it turned out that only Vicki and I were interested in the discussion so we pulled up chairs together. Rhoda's information was more about how to interact with customers so we decided to keep that until the meeting before the Memorial Day Arts and Crafts Fair in May. What we did discuss was putting our work up on Etsy. Rhoda already has posted some of her work at Rotaroter. Vicki already had a name and I was still debating whether to call my shop "AHA Beads" or "Leapin' Lizards." Keep tuned! And next month I promise to bring photos!

Friday, February 20, 2009

I have fallen so far behind with this blog! One reason is because I have been spending nearly every beading moment working on the entry for the Fire Mountain contest. I wish I could tell you a blow by blow account of how the project is going, but there are moments when I think it is best to keep the project under wraps. And then there is the need to record the account of the job and the idea that no one is really reading this!

All the previous week I worked on getting the tree shaped. Thank goodness each section is separate since I stack them up, make new sections, restack them and was still unhappy with the shape. I spent most of the week making a form (think of a hooped skirt) to hold out the lower branches. I got it all done and discovered the weight of the beads collapsed it. Finally I took out about 1/2 of the sections and the shape began to resemble what I had in my mind. Imagine my distress to find out over 1/2 the sections (very boring beading) were not needed. I am thinking that maybe I have enough for a second tree! Werner looked at the results on my desk and shook his head and said it was not very interesting.
However, once the shape pleased me I was eager to begin sewing on the decorations. This went well until I discovered I did not have enough crystals or the bead caps, so I shot an order off to Fire Mountain.
While I wait, I got the idea that what the whole thing needs, to be realistic, is a rug under it. I tried using one of the panels that I had made a couple of years ago but it was too green and blue. In my mind's eye I wanted it to have warm rose and lavender shades.

When I made up the bead order I looked for pleasing colors but either my eyes were tired or the colors were all wrong. Also it seemed to me that Fire Mountain had so many more Delica colors than Dynamic and I really did not want to do a 9 x 9 rug in such small beads. Not finding what I wanted I did what I should have done first - check my bead supply.
A couple of years ago I had fallen in love with the iris metallic raspberry Delicas but had neglected to save the packaging. I would add to each order what I thought was that bead. I ended up with about six different, but very close colors to the one I liked. They were perfect for the rug,so I started that yesterday now I have about one inch of that done.
While doing such boring parts, my mind delights in figuring out little toys I can bead. Last night I made the blanket for the dolly in the cradle (it looks so much better) and started on the drum. My eyes got too tired to continue doing dark blue beads with the peyote stitch, so I am eager to get back to beading to see how that comes out today. And there is the rug to work on when I just need calm repetitious beading.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

While talking to my son Hans on Sunday I told him of my unhappiness with the yellow cast the barge cement gives to the letters of the haiku book and he suggested I get a hot glue gun. So I did. I was surprised it only cost $6. I guess they figure they will make the profit on the glue. I haven't tried it yet. It may set up too quick - only 15 seconds. And having one page of clear letters may also be wrong for the whole piece. This next panel has 13 letters so it will surely be a greater challenge than the other two put together.
Rhoda Teplow stopped by so we could go together to Gualala Arts to retrieve our pieces in the "Judged by Peers" show and she found out one of her necklaces had sold. We celebrated by getting food from the supermarket and sitting in the car while overlooking the Gualala River Estuary and surf. As we finished a gull flew down to the windshield and stood there just letting us stare at him as long as we wanted. He was a beauty!
When Rhoda came she looked at "fog" page (I was still attaching the strings of silver beads) and she felt the golden glow in the letters was a bead color. Now that is an opinion I could live with.
Last night the glue on "river" page was set enough I could bring the panel inside. For some reason I just could not get myself to start sewing the letters to the fabric and instead fiddled with these figures for the other work.

I had done them on the weekend but was still making final adjustments. The cat is just one tall and his tail goes off to the side. The scanner insisted on mashing it down.
I see the rockers still need shaping. I made them in two layers so I could insert a wire to keep them curved. More work here, too.
Making the ball was the first time I ever covered a wooden bead with peyote stitch. The white ones are 11s, the dark red are tube 15s and the golden one are round 15s. I was hoping the changing sizes would help me do the decreases more evenly. Not sure that worked!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I have not been blogging because the news from here has been so bleak. I am working on attaching the the letters to the gauze panels for the haiku book and it has been nothing but a disaster.
I tried laying the panels out on the studio floor but got so exhausted running around them trying to pull and smooth them flat, so I asked Werner's help. He was busy with his work but stopped long enough for me to find out he does not understand "pull that corner" in either language.
Desperate I called Jody and she came over on Tuesday and we worked on the living room floor. Carpeting is better than cement on the knees. In two hours we got the letters positioned on all three panels and marked. We looked like old women when we finished; we were so exhausted. Both of us had rug burn on knee bones. Sorry no photos!
Wednesday I laid the "fog" panel on my desk and began to put barge cement on the letters. When I turned the letter over the glue dripped and the letters were too large for me to hold all of it above the fabric while placing it. One letter I dropped on the cloth and got huge yellow glue marks. Then the glue, which I did not think had a bad odor (when I used a couple drops on cabochons) stank to high heaven as I use over two tubes on the letters. Plus, the cat insisted he had the right to walk over every thing investigating it. Thank goodness the day was warm and sunny so I could have all the windows open and I had enough shoji screens to cordon off the area. Again I was a nervous wreck by evening and sick from glue fumes in the house.
Thursday I sewed the letters down was able to move "fog" to the studio and had (Werner went to town just to buy) glue thinner to try to repair the glue-goof. It only partially worked and I felt very discouraged.
By Friday I had, thanks to Werner's advice, a new plan to put the glue on the cloth and lay the letters on top. This worked a bit better. Today I just checked the "river" panel and because of the coolness of the studio the glue is still sticky. .

I hung "fog" and got a feeling for how it would look. In the evenings I had been tying beads to strings that will be tied to the "fog" page and hoped I could do them on Saturday.

Today I realized that I had better paint the backsides of the letters where the glue shows an ugly yellow. So I used acrylic white paint. Thank goodness I decided to make the panels double - this way the painted backsides will not be so noticeable. So I did that and found out the glue and acrylic are not friendly. The "river" panel is too sticky to lift from the wax paper so I have nothing out there I can do.
In the evenings, as an attempt to maintain sanity with some beading I can do, I have been working on the teddy bear. Here he is with his new head and arms (the first set was too small). He is just one inch tall. Those are white 15s and 11 brown accent beads

Again this week I have discovered that I love beading but I hate engineering projects that stand up, hang straight, don't wobble or fall into a heap - like beads in a jar.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Friday night, or early Saturday morning, I finished sewing all the shells on the last of the three panels for the haiku book. Yesterday I felt so done with the project - feeling there was nothing more I wanted to do on it. Scared that the project, with so much money and time already in it would morph into a UFO, that I forced myself to begin a search for the right glue to attach the letters to the fabric. It needs to be slow setting, very strong, not stink, and waterproof in the rain.

There were a few shells left over that looked like limpets that had been glued together and the outer finish sanded away. They now have a deep luminosity like tigers eye that I found kind of fascinating. Sorry the scan does not capture the depth of the ray's colors.

So I got out my old Barges' glue to attach a row of peyote to begin a bezel, and there it was - just the glue I needed for the haiku book. I tried a test and naturally the back side is yellow and smooth - as if I had used rubber cement. But, with the second layer of fabric over the backside I am hoping it will not show. Also plan to get some acrylic paint and lighten the dried glue with that.
I had glue drying on the limpet beads and the test but still I missed actually beading so I got the tree back out and worked on parts of that just so I could be pulling a needle through a bead. I finished one accessory and then couldn't sleep and figured out several others. Need to make note of cat, mouse, ball, wagon. Am still trying to figure out how to bead square boxes. Surely someone has instructions on the 'net but I suppose I will make samples - maybe the right-angle weave?
So now today the house is clean, do I work on the panels by pasting the letters in place, or do the bezels (need the sunny afternoon to see the 15's) or make new parts for the tree? Sitting here will not get any of it done.