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.