December 31, 2006

New Year ~ New Opportunities

I've thrown out my baggies and transferred my traveling bead crochet work to a new case. I found these great hard shelled sunglass cases in Target and they work perfectly for taking bead crochet projects along with me. There was even one in chrome that would be classy looking if it was personalized with bead embroidery on the outside.

New Opportunities ~ 2007
....and I spent the weekend cleaning out closets. I went to the Tucson thrift stores last week with my sister and managed to replace 80% of my wardrobe. Somehow after that trip, closet/pantry cleaning seemed an appropriate occupation for closing out the old year. The bead stash had already been re-organized and it was just the mundane, peripherals of my life that needed some attention. Being a generally messy, creative person I know this will not last, but I can feel good about the organization behind the closed doors for a small time.

Lately I've been seeing way too many sunrises for a confirmed Night Owl. Somehow I've gotten my wake/sleep cycle turned around. Maybe it's time to think about turning this and other perceived problems into opportunities. The turn of a new year always seems to generate those kind of thoughts ~ should I make a list - just to forget, ignore or lose it?

I thought I'd share a photo of one of my favorite Fremont Cottonwood trees. I spent Christmas Day walking with friends at the San Pedro House, which borders the San Pedro River here in Arizona. The tree's winter coloring is something that I keep thinking I'd like capture in bead work. I'll put it on my 2007 list.
Best Wishes for a very good 2007
to everyone!

December 18, 2006

Gilmer Getaway 12-06

A Bead Cave could be defined as "an adult woman's slumber party with beads". The Gilmer Getaway happens twice a year now when I travel between my New Hampshire and Arizona studios. As many of the beadtrekers as possible gathers in Eastern Texas at Miz Marcie's house.

We bead, eat, laugh, bead....

...and catch up on everyone's news.

We all pitch in and share the cooking - and every meal is a different adventure.

...and some of us pick up knitting as a change of pace...

This trip we were lucky to have a bead stash for sale. And it was well picked over.

We all worked on various projects

Beaded ATC's (Artist Trading Cards) were the primary project that we had agreed to work on. They show cased the diverse personalities of the gathering.

This Cave gathered six of us together

Bevvie from New Orleans

Libby from Tennessee

Jackie from Texas

Judith from NH & AZ

Mel from Tennessee

We always have a hysterically grand time and can't wait for the next time that we get together.

December 17, 2006

Tombstone Tourist Tour

My friend had never had the opportunity to see this part of the country and I think I gave him the fastest tour in the West as we hit the high points of South Eastern Arizona, an area rich in different cultures and history. The sparse landscapes are so different from the views in the East. Here you can see for what seems like forever.

This trip started in New Hampshire where history goes back many more years and you can't see the horizon for all of the green growing things.

...and ended in Tombstone Arizona, where the 1880's are the history. From here we took several days to look at a bit of what the area had to offer.

My restored house is on the back side of town; an old adobe that was once part of a cluster of what is believed to be the last operating stagecoach stop.

My friends from Ohio now own the ruins of the actual
alleged stage stop. It is just to the East of my house. Both properties are on the wrong side of the tracks -
the silver mine side of the Southern Pacific Rail Road.


Tombstone is unique in that several seconds of fame, known as the gunfight at the OK Corral in the late 1800's has kept the town alive. People tend to forget that it was a large Silver strike that started the town.

We went 25 miles South to Bisbee, a copper mining town. We walked the streets of Old Bisbee and looked in the windows of quaint shops and looked at houses clinging to the sides of the canyon.

Just at the end of the canyon is the Lavender Pit, once one of the largest open pit copper mines in the world. It's hard to imagine that the mountain was once as high as the pit is deep. The mine is now closed.

We went further south to the border town of Douglas and ate good Mexican food in the Gadson Hotel. The hotel has an amazing original Tiffany window that is all cactus and desert scenes. From there we took a walk over the border into Mexico and and did a bit of shopping.

We spent a day exploring ghost towns to the East of Tombstone. Ghost towns here do not look like what most people think they should look like.

Gleeson has a few foundations left.

...and the remains of a Patented, escape-proof jail. It also has a turquoise mine that is said to date to prehistoric times.

Pearce is another mining site that is also now a ghost town. It once had a gold mine that one day collapsed. We pic-nic'd at the Pearce cemetery, a desolate, wind swept location. We wondered why one would padlock a grave site.

Bob kept asking about real cactus, you know, those tall ones that have arms? They grow only in very selected areas. On the way back to the airport in Tucson I took him to look at the saguaros
and he was amazed at just how tall they did grow. You can figure the height of this relatively young cactus as Bob is 6'2" tall.

He said he enjoyed himself, saw a lot of interesting things and allowed as he "could possibly live in the desert." However, we only scratched the surface of things to do and see within a 50 mile radius of Tombstone.

Running with the Big Rigs

3,290 miles from NH to AZ

The beads were packed
and I left NH
on November 27, 2006.

This trip I was fortunate to have a co-driver. Bob had never been to some of the Western states and having someone else split the driving allowed me do some sight seeing of my own.

We headed directly south to escape any bad weather that might crop up in the East. This year there was no snow storms to delay the beginning of the trip - only some rain.


We made a side trip to Gettysburg and spent some time looking around. It was an erie feeling of history, walking through all of the monuments, markers and head stones.


I had an invite to stay with a beader in Jonesborough TN that I'd never met before. What a wonderful community of people the beaders on the Internet are! We were greeted with great Southern hospitality by Vivian & Bill. Vivian is a great cook and no one goes away from her table hungry. She & I talked beads and bead crochet and we all made some wonderful new friends.
We spent only a night in Memphis with Mel & Mark and their furry companions. In the morning we collected a new beader, Libby, and all of us caravaned across the Mississippi to Gilmer Texas and a bead cave, "The Gilmer Getaway" at Marcie's house. More on the bead cave doings in a later post. We spent several days in Gilmer while I beaded with my friends and Bob took a side trip to LA, a state he'd never visited before.

This year we broke the bead cave rule of "no men allowed". Dave and Bob suffered through several days with six crazy beading women, some wild conversations and much hysterical laughter.

As usual, the shared cooking produced memorable meals.

Leaving Gilmer TX, we headed out across the rest of the state. Two days of West Texas is..... well, just miles and miles of more of the same.......


........ now who's confused?

We knew where we were going......

A side trip to Truth or Consequences NM gave me an insight into one of life's great pleasures - Hot Springs! We didn't know they were there and we took the opportunity to take a soak in one of the funky local bath houses. Heaven is buoyant, 109 degree water. I didn't want to get out and do more driving.

When we left T or C we continued through New Mexico on secondary roads and drove through the Gila National Forest - what beautiful views from above the snow line on roads that twisted back and forth on themselves. I'm sure glad I wasn't driving and could just look out over the scenery.


We got into Tombstone Arizona late on December 6th, left everything in the car and put our feet up - glad that all of that driving was over for a short while. The next day the beads went into their winter home, I re-stocked the pantry and we enjoyed relaxing on my back porch.


I'm suffering with a dial-up connection here in my Winter Studio and will continue later with photos and comments on the bead cave and the whirlwind Arizona sight seeing tour I gave Bob before he returned to New Hampshire.

November 25, 2006

heading West

The beads are all packed and ready to go into the car. It's 20 degrees out and time to head for southern Arizona where the low for the day is higher than the high for the day in NH. It will be a change to look out and see the high mountains in the distance rather than snow covered, bare trees. I'll finish shutting down the NH apartment today and tomorrow and start the trek West early Monday morning.

November 14, 2006

Bead Storage for Snowbirding

I've been asked many times how I manage to snowbird and take my beads with me. It isn't easy and it took me a couple of years to settle on a storage solution that moved easily. I take about 80% of my beads with me from NH to AZ in the winter and back to NH in the spring.

This is my New Hampshire studio - still unfinished after 5 years!

This is my nicely organized Arizona Studio.

I had a pair of cabinets like this built for both studios. They hold 48 #3700 Plano tackle boxes full of beads.

All of my seed beads are packaged in flip-top containers and then into Plano #3600 or Plano #3700 translucent tackle boxes. By being translucent, I can see the overall color of the beads in each storage box.

By using only 2 sizes of the Plano boxes, it makes it easier to pack everything for travel.


I then pack 6 to 7 Plano boxes into 2 sizes of L.L. Bean canvas totes. At the moment that adds up to 10 canvas bags of beads (about 250 lbs of beads). The canvas bags exactly fit the Plano boxes and pack well into my orange Honda Element. With the cabinets it's easy to pull the boxes out and put them into the canvas bags. On the other end of a trip, they come out of the bags and go into the cabinet in the same order.

Now, this system works well as long as I only replenish the beads that I use...... If I have to expand the quantity of Plano boxes, then I'll be in big trouble. I know that will happen as I've yet to see a bead that I didn't like!