December 15, 2005

Home for the Winter

Day 13:
It seems like it takes forever to drive across West Texas.

This boat on the highway amused me as I followed it for awhile. No large body of water in sight!

Good driving weather for the 534 miles from Gilmer to Monahans; shower and fall into bed at a motel.

Day 14:
I kept seeing house sized things in the far fields and it finally dawned on me that they were huge bales of cotton. I guess you could call it a Southwestern snowfall as the sides of the roads had fluffy white cotton residue on the edges.

Once I get over these mountains and turn left I'll be in Tombstone, Arizona and home for the winter months. It was 541 miles in and out of the overcast and sunshine.

I'll take a week to unload, put the beads away, sort, re-stock pantry, catch up with friends and then celebrate the holidays with my siblings and friends.

As a curiosity..... Bev, Marcie and I all met over the internet and then found that we all had siblings in Arizona within 20 miles of where I settled. What are the odds of that happening? Also.... I went to a girls boarding school north of Chicago and now my High School roommate and I winter 2 houses away from each other. Small world and getting smaller every day.

December 8, 2005

Gilmer Getaway - ending

Day 11 & 12:
Things are winding down and people are starting to leave. Becky has gone, Jackie is packed, Bev is packing and I'll go Saturday morning. It was one of the most fruitful Getaway's as each of us finished more projects than we usually do. Some of the things we did are shown here.

"Sleve Art" Purses
Bev's on left, mine on right

Jackie's bright and bold purses

Marcie's "pretty in blue"

My "large ball" necklaces

More felted balls - they are fun to do!

December 7, 2005

Gilmer Getaway - Wool Felting

Day 8, 9, 10, 11:
We have been having way too much fun with wool felting. We've done balls, lariats, cell phone cases, market baskets, "Sleeve Art" purses, and necklaces. ....

Jackie did a primary colored bag on wool felted, thrift store, woven wool. Then she took the body of a felted wool sweater and needle felted a snowman scene on it. However that bag went home waiting for inspiration for handles. Jackie also quickly made red and black cell phone and glasses cases with red polka dot ribbons for straps.

Bev made a "Sleeve Art" purse with a
flamingo needle felted on to a square. She couldn't leave well enough alone and continued to embellish & embellish with beads, including the strap. Bev moved on to making an art deco lariat in pink and black. For her it was coloring out of the lines as the ends are not symmetrical. I should mention that we discovered that garment sleeves, felted, and not cut apart make perfect purses shapes - no need to sew up the sides. We quickly dubbed these "Sleeve Art". As Bev did most of the instructing she has now moved on to making a macrame bracelet with my beautiful C-Lon cording and a vintage button.

Becky went home with an envelope purse folded and felted just like an envelope. She had plans to add a few beads to it at a later time. We have missed spending more time with Becky.... however I'm going to stay with her Friday night and we are going to do the Dallas thrift stores on Saturday.

Marcie took her flamboyant freeform style into felting. She did a fantastic felted purse with fuzzy needle felted edges and a wild 3-D square on the front. We laughed as the strap for the purse is a roll of felted wool that is so stiff that she had a hard time bending it. Marcie kept rolling and Bev kept saying, "a little bit more"! She started a beautiful melon lariat, but has "lost" her melon colored beads somewhere in her beadroom, so that one will have to wait for the beads to surface before it gets finished. Now Marcie is working on a "Sleeve Art" purse and we're waiting to see just how this one will come out.

I made a "Sleeve Art" purse from a felted cashmere sweater sleeve. It is embellished with a soft rose and green floral square on the body. When finished it turned out that it is the perfect size for a drink bottle. I got hooked on balls and so far have made 2 necklaces with large felted balls. They are just great as you can have the big 'n bold look with hardly any weight at all. One choker was done in melon and khaki; another longer one in different sized balls, in a range of colors, strung as an illusion on C-Lon cording. I'm working on a teal & fuschia choker at the moment. All that hand rolling of the felted balls has left my shoulders and the palms a bit sore. I may not want to make meatballs for a while after this.

It is so much fun to let the creative juices flow and be able to bounce ideas off of other creative people. I feel like I'm being recharged and will not have any trouble creating new work in the near future. The Gilmer Getaway always ends up being the best vacation with beads.

December 4, 2005

Trip Report - Gilmer Getaway

Day 7 - 12/4/05
Bev made us put up the beads and get out the wool! We've been felting today. First we made wet felted balls - sort of like making meatballs with wet wool. They are just great. Next she read us the "destructions" and we made needle felted squares with the wool felt that Jackie brought. Bev did a flamingo; Becky a rainbow heart; Marcie's was .... of course.... blue & green freeform; and I did a sort of floral square.

Next we had to decide what to do with these things. Jackie had brought some wool garments that we cut apart and threw into the washing machine. Marcie & I cut up the sweaters that I had collected and felted in NH. We had a sort of AHA moment! Bev and I started "Sleeve Art" purses.

The sleeves were already sewn up the sides so we are making purses with the sleeves. We really love the way they are coming out. Marcie started a flap purse and Becky is working on a true envelope purse.

Jackie is making a cute snowman at the moment after doing a purse applique in bright primary colors. We are having way too much fun......

December 3, 2005

Westward Ho ....trip report

Day 1 - 11/28/05
The car is packed and an early Christmas dinner with the kids and grandkids is done. It's time to get on the road. Slow driving with freezing rain and dense fog from New Hampshire through Connecticut. Long day with 425 miles driven, ending in a motel in Harrisburg PA.

Day 2 - 11/29/05
The start of the day's drive wasn't too bad, but by 11 am I hit the band of nasty weather with torrential rains, thunder and tornado warnings. I called my friend, Bevvie from the top of some mountain rest area where it was raining so hard I couldn't see the front of the car. Another slow drive in and out of very heavy rain and the big semi's. It was so good to get to Johnson City TN to spend the night with Cindy Tipton. We treated ourselves to a Chinese buffet for dinner and caught up on all of the gossip. Another 495 miles driven.

Day 3 - 11/30/05
It was so nice to get up to coffee perking and good company for breakfast. Cindy took care of bead business while I woke up. Then we went to her shop, Cindy's Crafts. I had an order to collect and things to pick up for my beading friends in Gilmer TX. It was a creative effort to poke bead mats, books, bead tubes and other misc. beady things into the nooks and crannies of my already stuffed car. Cindy has the most comprehensive craft store that I know of. It is a small building that has everything that a beader or crafter could ever want. It's nice to find that an internet friend is as nice in person as on the screen.

Now I had to hurry as I had to be in Memphis by dinner time. The weather was colder, but nice, so I put an audible book in the CD player and drove an easy 496 miles. I arrived at Mel's house just in time for a good home cooked dinner. It was nice to land in a comfortable house I knew and could really relax.

Day 4 - 12/1/05
This was a non-driving day to spend with a good friend. We waited for her new appliances to arrive and then took her Mother out to lunch. The afternoon was spent exploring Art Silver Clay and working on some beading projects. I got my cat fix and played with her two cats, Kismet & Mallory. I'm in the doghouse with some of my other friends as I did not want to go see Graceland or do anything Elvis related.

Day 5 - 12/2/05
We got up early... Mel went to work and I got back into the car to drive the 402 miles to Gilmer TX. It was chilly enough that I put wool socks on with my flip-flops. It was an interesting trip as I got lost on the back farm roads in East Texas and ended up making a big wide circle.

I'm here now with 4 of my best beading friends for a week of fun and good giggles. Marcie, Bev, Becky, Jackie, and I will have a great time beading, eating, sleeping at odd hours, and catching up. We call it the "Gilmer Getaway".

Day 6 - 12/3/05 Gilmer Getaway doings...
We stayed up way too late, catching up on the last 6 months of life. It was hard to get up at a reasonable jour, but we had to as we were scheduled to have a beauty day. Our favorite hairdresser is in Gilmer - the kind that cuts your hair so well that it seems to fall effortlessly into place. I had my hair colored and cut - how nice to feel stylish once again. Jackie and Becky had their eyebrows waxed - ouch, that's not for me! Bev had her hair combed out, styled, and is now feeling sassy.

We got home in time to put on our jammies and cook dinner. We had a great meal as usual with everybody doing some of the cooking. Then we got some beading time in.

We are all working on 3" mystery bead embroidery squares. I did the design, cut it apart and gave one to each participant. When they are all finished, I'll sew them together and the rest of the gang will see what it looks like.

November 27, 2005

340 Lbs. Of Beads!

The bead cabinet is empty and the beads are all packed and ready to go. I had always wondered just how many beads I was hauling around. Today I had time to get the bathroom scale and weigh the bead bags. There are 9 large canvas bags and 3 small ones filled with Plano boxes of beads. So now I know.... I will be traveling with 340 lbs of beads. And still ..... I often don't seem to have the right color or right color in the right size. Does a beader ever really have enough beads?

Today I'll finish sorting and organizing the NH apartment; pack clothing, books, papers, computer, and other sundry things. I'll wrap Christmas presents and have an early Christmas dinner tonight with my children, their spouses and the grand kids. The two grandkids think that is awesome, early presents! Monday morning I'll be on the road, heading for Arizona. So far the long range weather maps are just showing some rain for Monday & Tuesday. I hope Mother Nature keeps snow away from my travel route this year.

Beading Copyright Issues

Lately there seems to have been a rash of mis-understood copyright issues in the beading world. People have made copies of beading patterns that they claim are in the public domain. These patterns have been included in and sold on CD's; copied and used as handouts for bead classes; and just plain copied and sold. The universal response has been, "I didn't know. Isn't it OK after 20 years?"

NO, it is not! Please look at

The worst part of it is that the patterns in question, that I'm aware of, have been no older than 7 years. If you own a bead shop, teach beading, or even just bead, you should be aware of the limited rights that you purchase with a pattern or book. If you like that artist's work and deprive them of their income then you may not be seeing any more of their work in the form of patterns.

November 24, 2005

Winter arrives

Happy Thanksgiving!
This is what I saw from my windows this morning. We are having our first real snow of the season; Thanksgiving Day. Unfortunately I am going to have to drive 2+ hours to Boston in it to join the extended family for the holiday meal.

I like looking at the snow, but really don't like having to go outside and deal with it. It's a good thing I'll be leaving for Arizona in 3 days. Then it can snow all it wants in NH!

This year I'm thankful to have a wonderful family around me and good friends to share the joys and sorrows with.

November 18, 2005

Time to escape NH winter

New Hampshire temperatures have been below freezing and it snowed last night - not much, but enough to see. It's time to begin the countdown towards leaving for Arizona. With only 10 days to go, I really need to make a "to-do" list and start organizing myself for the drive. I spend Summers in New Hampshire near my kids, grandkids, and in-laws. I spend winters in Southeastern Arizona near my two sisters. The best of two worlds considering weather, and the fact that 6 months with either side of the family is just about the right amount of time.

This trip West will be about 15 days with stops in Tennessee and Texas to visit and bead with friends. Twice a year I get to spend a week beading with my best friends in Gilmer, Texas. We now call it the "Gilmer Getaway" as it is our time to catch up, laugh, drink lots of coffee, sleep at odd hours, get out hair done, and ...... most important.... bead and bounce creative ideas off of each other - a true "Bead Cave".

This trip, all but two of the group will be there and we are going to try our hand at needle felting. Of course, felting will only be the base for embellishment with beads. Bev Herman has already tried it and is bringing needles and foam to work with. I spent some time in thrift stores here in NH and found some wool sweaters to machine felt. So first on my list to get done is to start a box of craft & beading supplies that will be needed at the Gilmer Getaway. Second on the list is to finish and mail promised pieces of beadwork.

The rest of the organization for leaving is more mundane; oil changed in the car; wash & pack clothing; sort, organize and pack beads; get mail forwarded; wrap Christmas gifts; last doctor's visit; start winterizing the apartment; clean out the freezer and icebox; and a million other small details. Then there is Thanksgiving dinner in Cambridge MA with all of the extended family. Monday 11/28 I get on the road, headed South to escape any bad weather, until I hit Tennessee and go West.

November 13, 2005

C-LON beading thread & cord

I've done it now! As if I didn't have enough beading supplies, I just bought 60 bobbins of the newest "C-LON" beading thread and cord. I've tried them all and in the end I still prefer a flat filament nylon thread for my needleweaving and a twisted filament polyester or nylon mini-cord for my bead crochet. Caravan Beads in Portland ME had just announced the arrival of their new "C-LON" beading cord in 30 colors. I couldn't find anyone who had tried it for bead crochet, so I ordered their mix of all of the colors. I also got a mix of all of their colors in size "D" beading thread. I had used some C-Lon about 3 years ago but new information caused me to try it again. The original factory was bought out and new quality controls had been instituted. This is also vat dyed, not surface dyed thread so the color is throughout.

"C-LON" Beading Cord:
According to Barry at Caravan Beads, "C-Lon Bead Cord is an extra-heavy twisted multi-filament nylon thread. I believe the breaking strength is about 34 lbs but will confirm that with the factory. Thread diameter is less than 0.5mm. It fits easily one time through the holes in Miyuki 11/0 seed beads, and the doubled thread on a split-eye needle passes easily through Miyuki 8/0s. Perfect for bead crochet!" There are 86 yards of cord (about 78 meters) per bobbin. Made in the USA."

"C-LON" Beading Thread:
"C-Lon is a tough, UV resistant nylon monocord thread that is claimed to fray less and stretch less than other similar dyed threads. For beadwork using needle and thread, off-loom bead weaving etc. Bright colors. May not require waxing depending upon technique. Thicker than size B but similar in thickness to Nymo D. There are 80 yards of thread (about 73 meters) per bobbin. "

Now for the rest of the story.......

I attended the NH Bead Society meeting this afternoon and took my new C-Lon mini cord with me to share the idea with other bead crocheters. Anna, an internet seller of C-Lon products was there with her supply of sizes AA & D. Several of us were looking and comparing when the light bulb went on. The colors matched (or close enough)! Size AA, size D and cord all had very close color matches. So if you have a need to color match your beading threads in three different sizes then here it is.

I am interested in the C-Lon mini cord for bead crocheting with size 6/0 beads or 6 mm glass or gemstone beads. The smaller sized polyester threads just are not strong enough. The red rope is with 6 mm faceted glass rondells. I'm not happy with the Conso mini-cord that I used so I may take it out and try the C-Lon mini cord.

My Amber Necklace is coming along and curving nicely. I wish I had more time to work on it as I like how it is forming and shaping up.

November 10, 2005

Fall Clean UP Time

A messy work space is a sign of........
insanity, creativity, a poor housekeeper, or ??

It's more than time to clean up the bead room. They say a messy desk is a sign of creativity - what does my work space say about me?

For 2 weeks I've just been dumping things on all of the flat surfaces and beading on a tray in the living room. At one point in my life I actually thought that I would not have any flat surfaces in my living spaces... no flat surfaces, nowhere to dump crap! Somehow that didn't work, my family thought it might be more than wierd! So, back to cleaning off flat surfaces.... the lamp shade and box of old papers goes to the dump; the beads & supplies get sorted back into their proper spaces; a banker's box will hold things that have to go west with me; and any leftovers will go into a box for some eBay, beadroom cleanout auctions when I get to Arizona.

Bead Storage:
Some time in the dim past, I saw a bead cabinet on Suzanne Cooper's site. She commented that her husband had built the cabinets for her. This summer I finally found someone who would build me a cabinet like Suzanne's. Now I wonder just how I lived without it. I like it so much that I've already contracted with the husband of a friend to duplicate it for my Arizona studio. The cabinet holds 48 #3700 Plano plastic cases. When I'm ready to travel, I pack 7 of those Plano boxes into an LL Bean canvas tote and the 7+ totes go into the car. Have beads, am ready to bead my way across the country with good beading friends.

I guess I'd better get things to the point that I can pack the car as it's only a little over 2 weeks before I'm scheduled to drive to Arizona for the winter. The night time temperatures here in NH are getting into the 20's and we've had sleet already - it's time to head for a warmer part of the country.

November 4, 2005

Baltic Amber
shades of a New England Fall

A 2-hole piece of amber along with some fat bronze Czech drops landed on my beading desk together.
I had been working on a "Center Cab Bracelet" and got to thinking..... what would happen if I changed this, used smaller turn beads and..... You get the picture, a new design began to bubble up in my mind.

Now to see if my ideas really would work. I wanted this to be a necklace with a top edge that gently curved. To accomplish this, I used a size 11/0 turn bead on one edge and size 8/0 beads for the body with the drops. So far it seems to be doing what I thought it would, however I'm not sure about the step up that I put into the lower curve of the necklace. I was thinking to gradually decrease into a strap that went behind the neck which would also make it lighter. It's not easy to accomplish a gentle decrease with 3-drop peyote. I'll finish this one and go back to the drawing board to see what I can do to make the lower curve less abrupt.

It's a bright, warm Indian Summer day here in New Hampshire and the Amber necklace was reflecting the colors outside my windows when I was taking the photograph. It bodies the shades of late fall in this neck of the woods.

I really need to start thinking about organizing myself for my drive to Arizona for the winter. I leave after Thanksgiving and will stop and visit/bead with friends along the way, ending up in Tombstone around the 10th of December. I treasure my stop to bead with the Beadtrekers in Gilmer, Texas most of all. It is a truly creative time with best personal/beading friends, all of whom I met through the internet in years gone by.

November 1, 2005

NH Bones ~ the first stone

I've always liked rocks.... all kinds of rocks, large and small . My Mother said that I had rocks in my head. As a kid I collected rocks; beach agates, mineral specimens, and just plain pretty rocks. When we first moved to New Hampshire in the late 1970's, I'd heard say that New Hampshire's largest crop was rocks. That was fine with me until I started to garden. I cleaned rocks out of my garden and by next spring the garden was full of rocks once again.

My first experience with growing rocks was when I asked my native New Hampshireite husband to get a rock out of my garden. I showed him that it was only a litle rock. He laughed and went and got the backhoe!

I was amazed at what came out of the ground. The center rock in this photo got dubbed "Momma's Pebble" and now holds up one edge of a garden.

Over the past quarter of a century I've seen many common uses of New Hampshire granite, huge unique stones, beautiful practical stone construction, as well as "gentrified" stonework.

As I get a chance during my Summers in New Hampshire, I'll share some of those with you. I've often thought that it would be fun to drill a bunch of the smaller round stones and bead with them. Can you see me now, beading the New Hampshire landscape?

October 31, 2005

Memories of a New Orleans Swamp

This past summer I visited a good friend in New Orleans and we attended a bead retreat in Shreveport LA. This was all before this year's hurricanes.

I bought a couple of hanks of beads in one of my favorite colors, yellow-green, because they looked like the color of the pond scum on some of the swamps we passed. While waiting for news that friends in the path of the storms were all right, I started working on a freeform peyote bracelet.
The rough Baltic Amber, seed beads and bronze crystals all came together into a bracelet that looks like a forest floor or tree stumps and moss poking up through a stagnant pond. I am very pleased with this one, although a friend looked at it and said, "yuckky, pond scum!" Isn't it great that we all don't have the same tastes?

October 27, 2005

Wisteria & who I think I am

I bead, write, design, teach and publish bead related books. The first four things are covered under "Studios". The last part is the "Press". You can find out more about who I think I am by going here.

I may sporadically write about beading, new bead work, my travels to bead with
friends, New Hampshire rocks, my Grandchildren, or any other subject that is going on at that moment in time.