Tuesday, December 28, 2010

You may have expected snow or Christmas images here but the winter holidays have given me this. With all the computer downtime and the need to rest my knee I have gotten this far with the new project. I still need to make the cat and the mouse and I had to order a new set of lights. Last night, resting after taking down the tree, I worked on the bug bodies which were more fun than designing a black cat.
I ordered a floral lighting kit with a battery and 10 lights. One goes into the candle (which you can almost see in the nose-hole) and the rest will be 'bugs' and lights around the outside. I tried to find lights that twinkled but so far have had no luck. I did not have luck in this one either.
For awhile I was discomboomerated by the deadline date of March 7, but now am feeling that I can get this done in time. That feeling allows me to take my time, tear out the goofies, and do my best and then redo it.

Friday, December 24, 2010

All week the storms with so much wind and rain have been taking down trees so we are either losing the electricity or the cable connections each day. Last Sunday there was a break in the storms just long enough for me to get the big net down at Point Arena Gift Show and beg someone to carry it to the car.

The organizers of the show were very pleased with me because of the many sales at the end. For the last weekend I put on a one-price sale of $10 for everything which made the cashier happy and many friends and neighbors could have some of my work.

Some of the exhibitors were not so friendly as they avoided speaking to me. I think the total sales for the event were down and several barely got back the entry fee.

It took a whole day to untangle and reorganize the left overs, but it was a quiet task done by the stove with Christmas music playing.

Tuesday I have to pick up the Big Bead Bird at The Dolphin and then the season of craft shows will be done. I am already working on my entry for the Fire Mountain Seed bead contest which closes in March instead of April. Always looking ahead, but still wanting to enjoy this special day. Thanks for reading my blog. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Went by The Dolphin and was able to fluff up the old bird and add some pieces to fill the holes where things had sold. The poor old bird's head was drooping as if he had lost a battle with Christmas shoppers. I really need to attach him to the ceiling. I thought that opening his neck and adding the wooden stick would do it, but he needs more help with his droop.

I took my turn gallery sitting at Point Arena on both Saturday and Sunday and was able to get a daytime shot of the 'wall'. Many people were already wearing my pieces. What a thrill! and so many came by and bought new pieces.

Next weekend the merchants of Point Arena are having a special called "Hometown Point Arena" to celebrate the town. For this event I am offering everything on the display for $10 each. One dear person, who knew of the coming sale, still shopped in order to buy at the present prices. What a sweetheart you are L.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The silence here is the result of all my conversations I have had while standing in the yard in the rain while a sweet, sweet guy named Sam dug a French drain around the house. I had tried filling the holes with a cement repair kit but the water kept coming in. Sam came by to look at the problem and for some unknown reason, dropped his other job and started digging. He kept working even as more rain fell just to get the pipes laid and flood stopped. Today the studio floor is the driest it has been in weeks.

The fish lures arrived on Wednesday and last night I did the one I had sold at the Festival of Trees and plan to mail it off when I go to town to see Vicki. She has some guy who does lapidary work who wants to sell to members of our bead group. Am eager to get off the computer and over to see what he has.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

For the past several weeks I had been promising myself to take the time and the energy to track down the leak into the studio as soon as I got the craft shows all done. So that was yesterday, Friday, and today I moved shelves around until I could see this mess.

I had feared the leak was coming up through a crack in the floor (we had several small earthquakes this year) but I see the problem is on the wall. That should be easier to fix but I still have no idea exactly what I can do.

My solution is glue but this is all too wet for that and another storm is already moving in. I tried to dig away the soil on the outside of the hole but it soon filled with water coming down the side of the mountain on its way to the sea. Our house was built directly over a previous stream bed and though they moved earth all around, the earth remembers where it once had a small river and tries to maintain it, even if it means burbling over my cement floor.

The river had even populated itself. I noticed the last time I cleaned the studio that there were less spiders. I figured my attempts to poison ants had given the arachnids stomach aches and they left. Not so. On the bottom shelf of the rack, in a lovely basket was the fattest alligator lizard I have ever seen. He was torpid from sleeping so close above the concrete so it was easy to carry him outdoors. I am hoping that when all the fuss about the waterway is over that he will move back in.

On Friday I went to Point Arena to add to my display the items left over from the Festival of Trees. Anthony Rees and Kirsten Tanner were gallery sitting so while I hooked hooks on to the net we had a great talk about films. I had just seen "The Man who Went up a Hill and Came down a Mountain" which was shot in south Wales - near where Anthony had lived. That's Anthony making his wire Celtic designs while Kirsten rang up sales.
We were having such a good time I forgot to take a photo of my display.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I definitely feel I should keep beading. The messages are coming through loud and clear. I got a call from Harriat who does the inventory for The Dolphin and she read off the list of items that have sold which was very encouraging. Other years I have sold one or nothing. So that was good. Finally her customers appreciate my work.
Then Susan wrote that she had visited my blog (her first!) and offered that any time I needed a bead-oost, I should let her know. The lady does have a way with words!
Then yesterday afternoon I started my new piece and so far it is going very well and I am very excited about it. I decided to work the double walls simultaneously by doing one length of thread with 8s and when I need to rethread the needle, then I switch to 11s. At this point the whole thing looks like one of those fancy sweepstakes ribbons from county fair days. But it already has the proper curve and the colors I had on hand are perfect.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Last night as I tore up the 4th attempt with the Pendragon cuff, and repackaged all the beads, I imagined what I would blog in here saying I was done with beads and then planning a huge yard sale. However this morning I got such a marvelous letter from Susan Phelps at Fire Mountain thanking me for the beads for the "Circle of Hope" event to raise funds for breast cancer research, that I am rethinking my planned action. She wrote so kindly and made me feel she really liked my work and valued my designs. I hope they give her a pay increase.

Maybe I will try again and not give up so easily with the beads. I was avoiding doing an original design, as that is even more frustrating than following some else's instructions! but now I am thinking maybe my own idea would be interesting enough to carry me over the rough spots when the beads don't fit together.

Yesterday I got by mail from Susan (or someone at Fire Mountain) a copy of Christmas 365 with a really good photo of my last year's entry in the bead contest - the Christmas tree that did not get a prize. I was really touched that they were still finding a use for the image and that it still looked so good. I had gotten the same magazine earlier but I felt the Universe was making sure I got it again so I would not get discouraged with beading. Gotta listen to these messages!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

There is no photo for the beading I did yesterday. I finally forced myself to take up the tray and try a beading project I thought I knew - the pendragon cuff.
The first two attempts I had to cut up and recycle. At first I thought the weird spaces were due to uneven tension, (since I am out of practice), but after the second attempt I finally looked at the instructions and the bracelets I had made last spring. Now on my tray is the third attempt trying the rounds next to the square beads instead of plopping the hexes on the squares. I hesitate to show you as even this improvement may not be enough to save my sanity! Hopefully tomorrow will produce something I can show you!
Just got the image of our tree from Sharon Nickoderm. It was her idea and now she has made this great photo. She had seen the basic fake bonsai tree for sale somewhere and ordered it. She did not like the pot it was in so she made this one out of clay herself. She then 'planted' the tree in glue, pebbles, and resin to make it stay upright. It was her idea to paint the trunk gold and spray the branches with snow and glitter. I agreed with her that it otherwise it was too dark, especially since we could figure out a good way to add lights without a welter of wires. She then added the 20 1/8th ounce fishing lures that I embellished along with one of my lizards there in the roots.
All the decorated trees offered at the Festival of Trees sold but ours was the first one to reach its 'buy-now' price and to go to its new home by noon on Friday. It was interesting that all the other trees were offered on stands down the middle of the room, but the bonsai tree had to stand alone in the entry way. All the praise we got was well worth the effort. The tree sold for $200 which was a donation to Gualala Arts.
Thanks, Sharon, it was a delight working with you!

Monday, November 29, 2010

These were made by Judy Carr. The nutcrackers are her own design and I loved them! Also I think she did a great job on the angels! Her wire work is so much neater than mine. We did a trade so evidently she found two items from me that she liked.
Yesterday I unloaded the car and put away the stuff from the Festival of Trees. I had planned to take the trees on to Point Arena, but they were so messy it would have meant taking most of the items on them off and rehanging them. It was easier just to take them off and put them into the trays. I did not want to get to PA and find that I should have brought a table. Later Ling-Yen called wondering where I was. She had the table for me. It is still an option to put something on the trees and take them in next weekend. Depends on how much work I have to do this week and if I can get over the voice in my head saying the trees were not a good way to display jewelry.
In the afternoon, instead of beading, I went through all the old magazines marking projects I wanted to try out. Then I went through my beads removing all the silver-lined ones. They tarnish in our salty air and I have decided to clear my palette of them. In the process I found the square beads I had been looking for to do the Pendragon Cuff. In addition, in the odd ends box I found a bracelet with more square beads. So I had the pleasure of recycling that. The capricorn in me really enjoys picking through the beads and getting them into new vials.
In the evening when I sat down to bead, my hand (as if guided by a chocolate impulse) went to the netbook and I played Scabble and watched "Wives and Daughters" instead of beading. This could be serious. . .

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Back again yet today because I forgot to include a shot of Judy's table. I had photographed it the day before and missed it when I did the previous upload. She got the wall and that adds a lot of quiet to the display.

Here are Bruce Jones and his wife looking at Marianne's pendents. Showing them in their boxes certainly made it easy to see them.

Here is a better photo of Vicki still working with the same couple! Here you can see her bead trays - also a good way of showing the work. Because of the changes in the tables, she invited me to put one of my trees on her space.

This is Susan Shaddick, a new member of the group. We really loved her idea of putting her pieces on stones. Laughingly we imagined next year's booth looking like a beach as we all would imitate her! I love her big hammered metal earrings that look like shovels. That is what I want!
This is Debbe's display of her lampwork on necklaces. Next to her, on the wooden rounds, is Lorenzo's earrings. He is very adept with wire and if someone did not buy the C-clef pair of earrings, I will today.
Here is Vicki showing her necklace to someone. Notice how she covered the neck stand displays with fabric to add to the Christmas theme. I heard her taking an order for one of her Tudor bracelets. She had a whole tray full but this woman wanted one special one just to fit her wrist.

I caught Lorenzo admiring my Christmas scene. He was so cute and so hard-working. He actually took over the selling of Marianne's diachronic glass pendants because she was not there.
About noon Sus came to tell me that the bonsai tree Sharon and I made had already reached it's sell-price - $200. in the silent auction. That started a flurry of activity of people wanting fish and in 1/2 hour five of them swam away

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Was able to get back to The Dolphin to photograph the Big Bead Bird and see that already several items have sold! I guess it was good Carrie made me do a paper inventory since my photo inventory was already out-of-date.
Officially the gift shop opened on Tuesday but the team decorating the room who did a fantastic job this year were still adding touches when I was there.

Here is the set up in the Burnett Gallery at Gualala Arts. I left before Sus got the lights set up so the photo looks a bit dreary. However, in real life the room was glowing. Nearly everyone had brought their work by the time I got there. I was glad I got the extra space for the pedestal for the Christmas scene. Even before I left people were coming into the gallery asking to see it, saying others were saying they had to see it, etc. Very nice!

Well everything is out of the studio, in the right places, looking as good as I can make them and I am very thankful. Much to be thankful for today. I hope you can add me to your list!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yesterday Ling-Yen had the gallery open in the afternoon in Point Arena so I went in thinking I would only get the net and the lights up, but the work went really well and I finished at 5:02. It was such a joy to see the empty gallery filling up with the colors and shapes of things my friends and neighbors had made. Having people there again, felt so good and hopeful. Again babies and dogs added their excitement. A marvelous afternoon. The other good thing is the fact that I do not have to go back today so I get an extra day in this too-short week.
Ling-Yen is saving me a trip by picking up the light bulb one of my lamps needed.
This is not a shot of the full display. Only about half. Need to go back in the daytime for a better photo.
On Saturday we had our bead meeting and I thought the meeting would all be about the Festival of Trees, but we are a much richer and diverse group than that. Vicki delivered the orders from Fire Mountain. It is so much fun when we have and take the time to look over each person's shipment. We get to see things we never thought of ordering. That's all we need; more ideas of what to buy!
Rhoda actually worked on a necklace during the hubbub and picked up the bags and boxes of beads and findings we all donated to her 4-H group.
Sharon Nickodem had brought the bonsai tree she made with my embellished fish. I am sorry I did not get a photo of it but it was sitting on a table with a bunch of weird stuff behind it. I will try to get a better one when it is on actual display.
The Show N' Tell table was crowded with all the new things we had been making. Lorenzo is moving beyond earrings into bracelets and showed us his first efforts. Rhoda brought not only her newest (she is making her own glazed beads with a marvelous gold on them - you can see your face in them) but also a marvelous necklace made in the sixties that I wish I had photographed.
While Vicki and Judy discussed how to manage the money end of the booth, Debbe, Lorenzo and I went to the gallery and set up the tables, covered them with green tableclothes (thanks Gualala Arts!) and added pedestals on the corners. It worked great because back in the meeting they had been trying to assign table space according to a drawing. By seeing the space in the real it was so much easier to find our places.
I had planned to booth-sit the first session so I could take my trees and be there to save a trip to Gualala, but now I am thinking I will go on Wednesday to set up my stuff. Maybe I can get some photos for you.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I finished up all the UFOs, got the last of the things ready for the Christmas craft shows, cleaned up all the trays and then had nothing to do. Even worse, there was nothing I wanted to do. All those lovely beads and there was nothing that interested me enough to start a new project! I truly wondered if I had outgrown beading or if having so much unsold work simply acted as a dam to stop me from adding to the sins of my disasters. I even wondered if my recent sleepless nights meant I was skidding into a holidays depression a bit early.
Not wanting to do that I forced myself to find a little project. Then I remembered these marvelous wire combs I had found in Japan. So I made these. Not very exciting and just too sweet and ho-hum. I thought of embellishing them, but felt those could get too heavy.
I want to make something big! Beads that fill a room! or at least a small box. I did order an acrylic lock box so I can have my own box to display the beaded Christmas scene at the Festival of Trees. Another $70 into my hopeless addiction to beads.

Friday, November 12, 2010

This project has given me a great deal of pleasure! I started out trying to make the single beads according to the instructions. The originals used 15s at the 'joints' and no matter how hard I tried the various directions the beads needed to go, I could not get the five tiny beads to look good, and hide enough thread in the middle.
So I got the idea of using an #8 at the junction. This made starting the bead a totally different way. But in the end, it was a much easier method.

I tied the thread to an 8, strung a cystal and another 8, passed back through the crystal to the original 8. Passing through that I added a crystal and another 8 and passed back through the crystal to the original #8 bead. I repeated this process until there were 5 'ribs sticking out from the original #8. Each of the ends of the ribs had an 8. First I tucked the tail of my thread through one of the 'ribs' so it dangled at the outer edge. Then I passed through a cystal to get the needle at the outside edge of the ribs and through one of the #8s. Stringing on 1 cyrstal, the needle passed through the next 8, continuing this until all five ribs were joined. Pulling this tight and securing it with a knot made a complete unit.
From one of the #8s I repeated the process of stringing a crystal and a #8 and then passing back through the crystal to the original #8. This is repeated until again there are five ribs. These are then connected with crystals between them. Continue this process, drawing up the units tightly at each complition. At the end there is a unit with three connected ribs. Instead of adding ribs, one makes the connection back to the rib unit on the other side of the hole and the bead is complete.
I have surely just reinvented the wheel. The best part is how much I enjoyed doing it!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I seem to be on a binge of finishing up. That is a good thing because so often such UFOs are forever abandoned in my world.
The top piece is a cabochon I prepared and took to Japan because B said she wanted to learn how to do one. We were so busy there we never got around to beading and the Tennessee river stone came back home with me. All the tubes of pink beads were out on the trays so it was a 'natural' that I should find a way to finish this. I was pleased with my ability to stop the crystal spikes when I did. I was not pleased with the 'errors' in my peyote stitches.
The next one I had made while learning to do 'sparkly wheels' and used up one of the raviolis I had gotten for the hair barrettes I was doing months ago. I had cut up the bracelet for which it was like a watch without hands, for more bicones, and had the it left over. Was fiddling with the brooch findings, after doing the piece below, and inspired by that work, was able to attach and use bicones to anchor it. Again those pink beads found their way into this piece.
This reminds me that members of the group should remember to bring your extras and unwanted beads to the meeting on November 20 for Rhoda's 4-H group. Think 10 year olds and pink.
The bottom piece was an idea for using up the these marvelous green leaves I got from Debbe. The piece is much more exciting in the real than in this photograph. I will be adding it to the big velvet bird for The Dolphin.
Spent some time last night trying to learn how to make an icosahedron bead (BEADWORK Dec 2008/Jan 2009) but that did not go well. Will give it one more try with my daytime brain or maybe I will go out to the studio and actually get the rice pearls they recommend! Following instructions. . . how hard it is. (sigh)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It is not often that it takes me a year to make a necklace, but this one has been in the tray for at least that long. First of all I had to find the really fine invisible cord filament (at Legendary Beads in Santa Rosa I could touch it and see that it was fine enough) where I also got some crimp tubes. When I tried them they seemed too big so I ordered some from Fire Mountain and was able to start the piece.

Then I found out this necklace takes a lot of crimp tubes so I quickly ran out. I thought I knew which ones I had ordered previously, but when the package came, it contained the larger crimps.

Because I order through our bead group, that meant waiting another month for another order. Finally I got the right size, but again had not ordered enough Another month, another order using the inventory numbers from Fire Mountain. When I got all my ducks in a row I was no longer interested in the necklace. How often has that happened?

However, by doing the earrings the other day I was inspired to get this out to finish it. The work on the earrings had taught me the value of putting only a single bead between crimps and the necklace was done with combinations of pearls and crystals. So in a burst of confidence, I cup off the hanging part. Then I discovered that the invisible cord material stretches and now the necklace was too long. So I began all over and finally got this piece out of my UFOs. I like it so much I am thinking of keeping it - something I rarely do. Now I need a new dress and surely new shoes, and I can just see the purse it needs. . .
In Japan, in one of the myriad shops we visited that day, I saw a grand display of at least 75 different purse closures. I was so overwhelmed by the huge selection that I got none of them but today I feel I could walk in that store and find the perfect one.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Just could not give up and put away all the pink beads, so I tried this idea also for the Circle of Hope Project from Fire Mountain. Now I am thinking this could be an interesting (to me) necklace with many small beads strung together. Dread thinking of having to fill out the form two more times, but I suspect I will be having a moment when nothing else interests me and I do it.

Am cleaning up all the trays and putting things away.

Started sticking stuff on the big velvet bird to take to The Dolphin and still have some spots to fill. I suspect that my immediate future projects will be ones that will fill in the gaps on the hips. Still might add the amulet bags to the hips (like human saddle-bags).

About a year ago I had an idea / image of not buying any more beads but using up what I have on hand. I had a vision of not buying another bead until I sewed the last two together!

Anyhow I was trying to finish the necklace that matches the Peterson catalog earrings when I discovered I was running out of the clear crystal bicones. I solved the problem by yanking a bracelet off the bird and cutting off the crystals. I had never liked how that one bracelet had turned out and now it no longer bothers me.

I had been thinking that after the Christmas sales are over I would recycle the left-overs. But now I think I will only do any recycling when I have a need for the beads in the project.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Just as I get back to beading and able to post something here, our cable internet connection went out for two days, so I am doing catch up here.
These earrings, $49. a pair in the Peterson catalog, were the first thing that sparked my interest. I was surprised that I had to search for my clip-on magnifiers and found them in a tray with the unfinished white flower I had started to make for the hat to take to Japan. (The hat did not go with me - instead I used a less fashionable one that collapses and I did use it)
Anyhow! it felt so great to be beading again. In two days I had whizzed through all of these. Think I can add them to the crystal bearing Christmas tree for the Festival of Trees. Tomorrow night is a meeting of The Janes* and I am planning what I can wear that will go with my earrings from this batch.
*At the opening of Heidi Endamen's art opening, six of us discovered our names were Jane. They put our picture in the paper and tomorrow night we are having a potluck. Will lose an evening of beading but hope to be able to strut my stuff instead.
I got an annoucement from Susan at Fire Mountain about their Circle of Hope project to raise money for breast cancer research. I sent it along to the rest of the bead group and already Debbe has responded that she was sending off beadSSS (plural).
I made a list of the kinds of beads that I could make and came up with 6 or 7. However the longer I thought about my feelings for people and families who have faced this or any other cancer, I felt the rainbows that come from these prisms best illustrated my idea of hope. So I embellished the biggest prism crystal ball I had. It has pink roses on it, but in the scan the one ivory one shows up.
I just downloaded the entry form - ten pages of questions! I am glad to do that work too for my bead, but I wonder how many more I will make.

With the trees done and decorated for the Festival of Trees, I found I had enough pieces left over to take to The Dolphin, the artists' co-op Gualala Arts maintains in downtown Gualala (behind the post office). I got out the big bead bird I had made a couple of years ago and started decorating him. I think this will make an interesting display, but I have been wrong about this before.
Usually the things taken to The Dolphin are arranged, always artfully, by the staff, but for the Christmas bash each is on his own. With over 20 artists in one tiny room it takes some doing to get oneself noticed.
Almost every month I get a check for items sold at the The Dolphin. By the way, this is the only store I leave things on consignment. The place is so well run and Liz does such a good job of keeping books that I can depend on them to track and pay for every piece. This is the only place I have found in over 40 years that makes consignment work properly. Hats off to the volunteer staff! and thanks!
Last year they sold one of the other large stuffed birds, so maybe if the jewelry doesn't go the bird will find a new home.
I opened his throat and added a stick of wood to make him more stable. Also this year I sewed his wings to his toes and that too helps balance him. It is surprising how much all that jewelry weighs.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Finally, and joyfully, back to working with beads. Did this as my set up for the Festival of Trees at Gualala Arts on the days after Thanksgiving. The display probably does not scream 'buy me; I am a jewel' as loud as velvet busts and leather neck pieces would, but I should get points for sticking to the theme of decorated trees. We each get 1/2 of a table so I figure this gets the most stuff out there in the minimum of space. Also I solved the problem of getting the wares up to eye level. We will see how it goes.
I know how hectic this event can get for the sales people in the booths so I tried to make their job easier by using only items that cost $15. If Jane made it; the price is $15. Due to this decision, I have decided to take the higher priced items to the Dolphin and am now 'decorating' the big velvet bird with things for that outlet.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Musa, from Portland, Oregon, came back to do his trunk show of beads from Africa. We had perfect weather and many folks who do not normally attend our bead meetings came out for this event. We all such a grand time oohing and ahhing over the splendid beads. We tried to close down at 4 but people just kept coming.

Here I am modeling a string of museum-quality amber beads. It was such a joy just to touch (and wear) these moments of history that had gone from Germany to Africa and now to the states.
At the much calmer business meeting we decided to continue the group (with lots of enthusiasm for this idea). Sue will continue as our liaison person with Gualala Arts and Vicki, who does the ordering from Fire Mountain will take over the monthly notices. Six people signed up for the Festival of Trees booth and my suggestion that we display our jewelry on faux fir trees found mixed acceptance. At least they were okay with me using the trees so I came home and ordered them from ChristmasCentral. I got one 2.5 tree for 8.99 and another for 7.99 plus I also got some of the tiny trees from them. They are not the ones that light, but I prefer the greenery on these. I think I only paid 2.99 for a 9-inch tree. It seems the Christmas season is starting - and it is good.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

After that huge shopping trip for beads in Tokyo, I return to Gualala, to The Loft, to shop for curtain material and what do I find? These beads with kanji burned into them. They may be Chinese for all I know, but they do look Japanese! I have often felt that our coast, rugged as it is, is the vestige of the break that separated Japan's landmass from ours. Somehow finding these beads here and the very modern 'Western acrylic" beads in Japan brought our two lands back together.

I am still not beading, even though I go on buying beads! since I am crocheting on the big dollie for the GAC show in January. Each foot is 28 inches long. I am sure that by the time I get her done, I will be so glad to return to beading. I am finding out that crocheting makes my hands and wrists tired more quickly and I cannot crochet as long as I could bead. There is something to be said for the tiny weight of seed beads.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I am back home from Japan and this is what I brought! I noticed the airlines put a special tag on my suitcase that had in big bold letters HEAVY. So that is what happens because B. and I went shopping in Tokyo.
Finally on Saturday we had enough time for the big trip to the bead quarter. It turns out all the bead shops are centered in one area - Akakusabashi. All we had was a map in Japanese on the little net book that had no printer so B. went down to the hotel lobby and asked for help in finding the web site and printing a map. She noticed how slowly the young girl worked and that she made two copies of the map. She was smiling very broadly when she gave B. the one copy!
So we got a taxi, gave the driver the map, and 40 minutes later had crossed the larger part of Tokyo to arrive in a welter of bead shops. He dropped us off in front of a larger one - West 5 - and we began! They also had many buttons, lace and threads but also some great chains. As we were paying we saw a copy of the map we were using on the wall! Later we saw a shopper with the same map in hand.
Japan does not rely on street signs or a proper number system, so we just began wandering from shop to shop. Many had crystals and seed beads such as we could get from Fire Mountain, so we concentrated on the weird little shops with unusual things. We probably spent the most in a shop with horn and shells and in another that had a huge selection of acrylic beads. I thought I did not like acrylic beads but they had so many different kinds and at such low prices I had to give up my opposition to them.
It was here I had my best experience with Japanese shop keepers. I went up to the two female cashiers and asked in my best Japanese if they had a toilet. They looked at each other in complete bewilderment. Then I grabbed my crotch and grimaced and they broke out in peals of laughter and pointed me upstairs! For one shining moment, we as women, completely understood each other. And we were surrounded with beads.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Vicki and I went to the memorial service for Kathy's husband, Brian. I have never seen my friend Kathy look so drained, so lost, so reduced, so taken apart, so ravished by grief. All I could think of as I looked into her haunted eyes was, "this is the price of love." and that was so terrible I could only hug her to hide the loss and pain against our shoulders.
And yet, when I looked at her, I saw her as most beautiful. Her beauty was far above any beaded work.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I think I found out why I am not beading. Always before I had this really comfortable recliner that I sat in to bead. However since I got a netbook, to take to Japan, I leave it on the table beside the chair. Now when I sit down there, I take up the laptop and go back to computer work.
There is so much that needs to be learned with the new computer, and so much to set up (I just found the magnifying glass for that really tiny print) that I feel guilty enjoying the beads instead of 'working.'
I did ask Vicki if she had any of those tiny bobbins of beading thread. She did and she is giving me one. Now I can take my mag glasses, and a needle because that will not take up much room in the overloaded suitcase. I am hoping Vicki's thread will hold me together on the trip as I bead for sanity.
This afternoon Vicki is picking me up so we can go together to Brian's Memorial Service in Point Arena. He was the husband of Kathy Dillman - one of the members of our beading group. This is the second member in our tiny group whose husband has died in the last month. We are all hoping this 'rule of 3' is not applicable to us!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

In my planning on what to take to Japan (only a day and a week away!) I had bought of a new black straw hat. When I got it out to add to the pile of stuff, it seemed rather bare and plain. So I got the idea of adding a beaded band. I wanted to use a certain netting technique I used to know, but no matter how hard I looked I could not find the instructions nor remember how it was started. Finally I found this interesting Chevron stitch and was able to do it. Then it seemed the hat needed flowers so I began making my usual brick-stitched flowers. Before I even got this first flower done, I began to realize how heavy my suitcase already was, how far I would have to drag it over the next two weeks and the hat with its beaded trim seemed too much to bear.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Already the trip to Japan is cutting into my beading time. By the time I get off the computer I am too tired to bead. I never thought I would hear me think that!
Today I packed up some of the beaded necklaces to take as gifts in those little organza bags. I hope this is fancy enough. How grateful I am to have made those necklaces in July. I see that if I had left the job until now it probably would not have gotten done.
I picked up the beaded branch at GAC on Tuesday. Naturally it did not sell so I am now trying to find a place to hang it. They took very good care of it so it came home with all the twigs intact. I was prepared with my glue bottle but they did such a good job of hanging it high and out of the traffic patterns that I did not get the disaster I was expecting.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I make a lot of jewelry but wear very little of it. When I do wear a piece, I then keep it as 'mine' and never offer it for sale. Last night, when the Readers Theater Group, at Gualalal Arts Center, read my play "Banana Skies" I wore this piece and it felt very special and very good. I am thinking of taking it to Japan with the hope that the big hollow silver bead will encapsule the good feelings of last night and carry me through whatever awaits me across the waters.
In my suitcase I think the weight of beaded jewelry will just about balance out the many books and papers that need to be crowded in with the clothes. We will see, when push comes to shove, if there is room for it. But this morning I am feeling happy and relaxed and very gratified and I want to hang on to that attitude!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

This is a necklace that started out as a bracelet. Friday afternoon, on the way to the dentist's office to see why my cheek was hurting so much after the temporary crown work yesterday, I had a vision of the big silver bead (from Debbe -THANKS) and the lampwork beads as a bracelet. I did the spiral stitch as 'chain' but the big bead and lampwork beads were too wide to lie properly on the wrist.
Yesterday, after baking a batch of brownies, I got this idea for making the bracelet into a necklace. Today I finished up the connections and right now am feeling fairly happy with the results.
Am thinking of the several jewelers in the area having Studio Tours today and would like to go but still have too much pain in my face. It seems to get worse when I get warm or bounce around. Maybe next weekend!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The first thing I ever beaded!

The other day while curling frosted 11s into a beard on Santa Claus I got the idea that I should take a portfolio of my bead work to Japan. Who knows who I will meet? Maybe someone to sell my 'creations'- or at least find a new audience. Out in the studio I looked through the stack of old photo albums trying to find one that would fit into my suitcase. They all looked so big and bulky. I hated printing out all those photos.
Only when I had gone back to beading did I realize that it was easier to carry them on the web! So I stopped beading and started to make a website for my beads alone. Well, that did not work. Somehow working on the computer in the afternoon does not go well; probably because my inner child would rather bead.
However, by evening and several more Santas, I saw how to make the site using the template I use for my other pages. Then it began to work. There were a few fistfights with Dreamweaver but when I gave up trying to import photos and first ran them through Photoshop the cussing was quieter.

So now I have a section just for my beadwork. You can go to AHApoetry.com and scroll down on the left side to 'Bead Art' or go directly to http://www.ahapoetry.com/jrart/beadhmpg.html I hope you will take a look and be inspired to get your beaded creations out there in bytes and lights.

The greater good of this job was finding things I had made that I had forgotten about!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A beader's autumn starts with Christmas! Yesterday I moved on to the Santa earrings. I had no pattern so I simply started. Used 6s instead of 8s for the hat and wondered why they looked so wrong. They do not look half-bad here but in real-life, if there is such a thing, the 6s seemed too big. I was surprised at the feelings of peace that came over me as I worked on these. It was like a visit with old friends. Very companionable day.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I got tired of making green trees, in spite of loving that olive color! So I began doing snow covered trees which moved into Valentine's Day with hearts on the top. I think the series is done. Last night, instead of beading, I worked on the computer with my new netbook. It was the wrong way for me to wind down my day. Had huge light clouds in my night vision. So I need to find a new project for today.
Maybe if I clean up the studio I will stumble over some forgotten bunch of beads that will spell out the new project. I feel beads cast spells over me. I seem to get possessed by a bead, or an idea that I cannot let go of until it lets go of me.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The back cover of

Had such a lovely surprise on Friday. Melody at Fire Mountain sent me a copy of Christmas 365. I loved reading the magazine with its refreshing layouts and super ideas. I think the idea of keeping Christmas throughout the year is a marvelous idea. Of course I have just spent the last week making Christmas tree earrings! Am ordering the magazine for my granddaughter who is really into Christmas - evidently we share a gene pool. . .
What a marvelous pick-me-up to see my beaded work on the beautifully done ad on the back cover! Thanks to Arbel and Melody and probably many others I do not even know about, I had such a joyful day then and the shine continues even yet today. What a great reason for beading. Now I need a new idea for next year's bead contest! Hm. . .

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My 'inner beader' is obviously not burned out on vending! As I was cleaning up and sorting my pounds of beads the other day, I discoved these olive green 11s that I had gotten last year to make more of the Christmas tree earrings. So I have been doing these!
Found a new way to start the circle. I simply do the brick stitch around a #8 bead. This makes a very smooth start and the hole in the bead is perfect for passing the headpin through. As you see I have not yet finished off the tops. I hate making wire loops! which probably explains why I do it badly. Even with two tools I am not able to make two alike. But that is always a problem for me with earrings. Here you can see I have made 7 instead of 8!
Anyone interested in duplicating the Christmas tree on my Fire Mountain entries from last year and this year should start by making these earrings as practice. I will email the instructions if you wish to have them. No charge.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Got the paperwork from Vicki for the sales at the Art in the Redwoods vendor booth.

Vicki and Marianne (and husbands) had erected the tent, set up tables and chairs, decorated the displays and had it open 3 hours on Friday night, 8 hours on Saturday and 7 hours on Sunday and then took the whole thing down. My thanks to them for doing this!
My total sales were $152. I paid Gualala Arts 10% = $15.20. I paid my one-third of the booth fee = $16 and $2.71 for use of credit card charges. I spend one day attaching prices and making arrangements in the trays. There were two trips to Gualala.

And still there were smiles!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Here you can see how they hung the branch in the gallery. I was very pleased with how the hanging committee placed it. There had been talk of hanging it outside so I was very glad to see it inside and in the gallery and being treated like art. It won no prizes but I had not expected it to to do that. It was just an idea I had. Several people did come up to me to say how much "it looked like something I would do" and others said that they loved the new idea. Hard to show something that has not been seen when there are over 400 works competing for attention.

Here are Vicki (seated) and Marianne (in blue, also) in the booth they (wo)manned all three days at Art in the Redwoods. Saturday had been foggy and cool so they didn't sell that much, but yesterday was sunny and just warm enough and they thought they had sold more. Marianne was still computing numbers when I left. Walt Rush, another jeweler loaned us the tent. Both husbands were waiting for us to get our stuff out so they could take it down. Thanks to everyone for all the help.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

After covering 48 of these wooden beads I strung them together to find out they do not go together as the beads in the yellow bracelet did! The spaces between the petal-like sets are too wide for the thing to hold together. When it is bent around the wrist the petals collapse. I tried the weaving pattern again with pony beads and 6s but again they were too slippery to hold the shape.
I gave up at midnight and I suspect that I will go back to all today and try to find a way to make it work. Who knows? I may invent the wheel yet!
This afternoon I plan to go to the Art in the Redwoods and I am looking forward to that!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Got the box back from Fire Mountain with my seed bead contest finalists and finally got around to unpacking it. Was surprised how glad I was to see this piece back home. I put it up on the special shelf and every time my eye wanders in that direction I get a good feeling. I am thankful I was able to make the piece and I am glad it has been appreciated by someone else. Still I wish that in the spaces between the beads were the words spoken as others looked at the piece. Will keep it for the Gualala Art Festival of Trees which is not all that far away. Maybe then I can see how others see the work.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

You must be wondering what this is! I am still trying to figure out the yellow green bracelet Sharon loaned me as shown in yesterday's blog. At the top is the bracelet I am trying to make out of the beads that I designed because I did not like having to cover the round beads. Okay.
But still the mystery of the yellow green bracelet remained. When I showed it to Werner he immediately said, "I see that on a brown arm." Then it hit me. This style is very African! I have seen pictures of African beading that had this feel and this color. Also the seed beads are the opaque kind they use. So with the desire to figure out how an African woman made this bracelet, I returned to the puzzle with a lot more enthusiasm.
First of all I had to figure out how the balls were stitched together. This is not done with any stitch that I know. By holding the elastic apart I was able to follow the thread paths and then to draw them and then to duplicate the process with plain wooden beads. However, this does not work with smooth beads. The roughness of the bead-covered beads actually holds the beads together in place. So there was nothing for me to do but to cover the 48 beads with seed beads. This is, to me, another clue that says this bracelet is African - it is very labor-intensive. I worked all afternoon and evening and only got 16 of the beads covered.
Got to run! Need to deliver my beads to Vicki so she can take them to the Art in the Redwoods vendor booth she and Marianne are having this weekend at the Gualala Arts Center. In addition to all of this, Marianne started a blog this week. Check it out at: simplyseablimejewelry. blogspot.com. She is running a raffle for people who visit her blog and leave comments.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sharon showed me this bracelet she had bought at Cotton Fields in the Seacliff Center. The little balls are made by taking a glass bead and covering it with seed beads. I tried the process and got frustrated with the slipperiness of it - it took a lot of work to go around and around the bead adding the lines of beads and making them lie flat.
So I am trying to make my own little beaded bead and when I get 48 of them (stay tuned; don't hold your breath) I will try to duplicate the bracelet. It seems the person used the peyote stitch with elastic cord. One of the reasons I am interested in this is because so many people love bracelets they can slip on and off and I hate working with findings and even bead-made clasps.
I am using silver-lined gold 6s peyote stitched into a 3 x 6 bead flat piece that is then zipped up to make the bead. Then I lace in 11s between the beads to add another color. Either I am happy not to be making myself cover all those beads or I really prefer having two colors on the bead, but I like my little beads more. I am enjoying the challenge!