December 30, 2007

2007 West - Ahead of the Storms

It had already snowed in NH before I left for my rather quick 3,346 mile drive to Arizona for the winter.


Arizona did greet me with a spectacular sunset when I arrived in the desert.

I took a northerly route along the bottom of the Great Lakes and luck was with me as I hit only one day of rain and one night of "almost snow" in Ohio.

It was in Ohio that I kept seeing these signs along the Turnpike and had this mental image of a great visible joke strike me ...... Yea, weird sense of humor here....

...Man in trench coat standing beside the highway... and well, you visualize the rest of it!

In Chicago I saw exactly what I want to tow behind my Element one of these days. How great to have a teardrop trailer painted orange (with flames, of course) following along behind my Honda "lunchbox"!

After visiting with old friends in Chicago I headed directly South with a side trip to Metropolis Illinois to see Superman's home town.

Small town in the Midwest with this great huge statue in the center of town and Superman memorabilia all over.

I ended up staying over an extra day in Memphis to go to the Memphis Roller Derby Season Opener. It was the Prisskilla Prezleys Vs. Legion of Zoom and the Angels of Death Vs. Women of Mass Destruction. Go look at their site for some great stories and better photos than I managed to take. A good friend of mine has become a referee for the league and it was a "must see" event.

What a raucous, fun evening out - and ..NO, nothing is staged, they are one rough bunch of women!

Heading West through Texas always seems like the longest part of the drive. Due to "life in general", the beadtrekers did not manage to get together for a bead cave this trip. I was sorry to not be able to bead, laugh and eat with the bunch this time around. Hopefully in the Spring we'll have better luck.

Texas is usually good for some great photos. I'd never seen highway signs being delivered before and the boxcar art was really neat.

I had to make an overnight stop in Truth or Consequences for a soak in the Hot mineral springs - they really wash the dirt from the road off of you and leave you feeling as relaxed as a wet noodle.

I had the opportunity to visit "Pinch & Swallow", a hobby space for an Albuquerque Doctor. His murals were spectacular and well worth the time spent looking .

Heading out of New Mexico towards Arizona, I saw these signs for Arrey and Derry - first one name was on top and the next sign had the other name on top - Equal Opportunity road signs.

And this gas station with a sense of humor!

Finally ... Arizona, unpacking the car, catching up on the news with my Sisters and High School friend, then stocking the pantry and settling in to vistas like this one.
I hope your holidays were as good as mine
wish you all the best for 2008

November 20, 2007

"'s cold outside!!"

Time to head West as it's 28 degrees and snowing this morning. Four more days and I can pack the car and go. I'll be pretty much off line and out of touch as I visit my way across the country to Arizona. I do have a wireless equipped laptop and if the Gods of the Internet cooperate, I may post some photos and comments along the way.

You know it's getting chilly when I resort to socks with my flip-flops. Haven't drug out the shoes yet, but if this snow amounts to the 3" they say .... well, shoes are a distinct possibility! Dang... there goes my goal of 365 days of flip-flops....

Jen's bag got put to immediate use. Can you see that it's all my colors? A crocheted winter hat for my G'daughter is nestled in the bag. It looks so pretty that I almost hate to finish the hat and leave the bag empty.

Ahhhh, the "get out of town" blues.... Projects seem to drop to the bottom of the list and then drop off of the list. I always think I have more time than I really do. I'm making a utilitarian kilt for a Christmas present - This entails pressing umpteen million pleats and I'm not sure I can get it all done before I leave. Oh, well a kilt does pack flat and doesn't take up much room

Then there is my Bead Journal Project - way behind and one messy work board of starts and ideas. I think I need a real creative idea for a lid so I can pack this on the very top and work on the pages as I travel. October and November are just glimmer of ideas and August needs the background filled in. I know that I'll find other bead projects in-progress as I sort and pack my beads for the trip. I get easily distracted and think of other things I want to try before finishing what's in front of me.

I'm having Thanksgiving dinner with the family, signing off for a few weeks and hopefully Arizona will have happy, clear blue skies and none of this wet, white cold stuff falling from the skies here in NH

November 6, 2007

Dreary Post

They mentioned possible snow in the mountains on the radio today! It's one of those damp chilly, depressingly gray days. I am sorely tempted to put on bright red socks with my flip-flops. Not that my feet need them, but my soul needs something bright and cheerful to offset the dripping gray outside.

If the day is sloppy, my bead room is even worse. I've piled projects and supplies willy-nilly on all of the flat surfaces. I hate thinking that I've got to start sorting out the creative messes into organization for the trip to Arizona in three weeks. For me, chaos is creative, organization isn't. I need a good 'ol SciFi transporter to whisk me and all of it West without spilling a bead. I'm not even in the mood to start any of the many projects running through my mind as I'm imagining having to also pack them up for the trip.

October 28, 2007

Bead Journal - September

Couldn't sleep, had to finish September's Bead Journal page!

September's Harvest Moon
I'm very pleased with the way this page came out. The graphic simplicity is such a contrast to the other pages I've done (or have in the works). I used a bead crochet rope as the tail or dangle and it's precise construction was just what the piece needed.

October 27, 2007

Bead Journal - September

I'm still a behinder beader as August is only 3/4 done and October still doesn't even have a plan. Somewhere in here I have to play catch-up.

Except for adding a tail or long fringe, My September Harvest Moon is done. I sort of beaded myself beyond the box as I did the beadwork on separate backing and got carried away. All of a sudden I try fitted it to my rectangle and said, "Oops, too large!" You know something, I like it that way and think I'll leave it like that. It doesn't really show in the photo, but the cab and beadwork has a slight dome to it which I accentuated with a couple of heavy plastic disks between the backing and the cabochon.

Maine, Beads & Ocean

I took a mini-vacation and went to visit friends in Maine. I got to have the ocean the way I like it: no people, a chilly windy day with the ocean crashing wildly against the rocks. Then we sat inside with a fire in the fireplace, made waffles and looked out over a small round inlet at the lobster boats and battened down sail boats. This year when I go to Arizona I may have the opportunity to go visiting in Los Angeles and could then say I'd traveled ocean to ocean.


Oh those glorious, brightly colored, irresistible beads.....
On the drive up, I stopped in Freeport ME to shop at Beadin'Path. I had wanted more of their Lucite flower beads for a project or two. I've shopped at their booth at various shows, but this was my first opportunity to actually visit the shop. It is one of the nicest set up bead stores I've been in. I got lost at the Lucite wall and didn't go much further. I bought strands of the light weight, very colorful flowers to incorporate into a finger woven bracelet. Aren't those yummy colors and shapes?

Then there were the leaves ...... different shaped leaves, including some long graceful ones in an almost pea-green color. I think they will work in the bracelet, but if they don't they will find a home somewhere in future beadwork.

Now, just what do I do with these beads? I have no idea what I'll do with them, but they just sort of followed me home? They had my name on them even though sherbert colors are not my usual style. I fell in love with the shape and feel of the beads; matte smooth, not quite round, something you just have to run through your fingers over and over.

What's a trip to Maine without a lighthouse? Here is the required Maine photo of a light house. It sits up the hill from where the top wave photo was taken.

October 17, 2007

Bead Sizes - Part II

I did an earlier post about Czech Republic and Japanese Seed Bead sizes. Now I can add the Japanese cylinder beads, manufactured by two companies: Miyuki and Toho. These beads have thin walls, large holes and are quite regular in size and shape. They come in hundreds of beautiful colors and are expensive.

I don't like using them in bead crochet as they tend to click together like small tiles and make a tighter, stiffer rope. However, when you want a rope with a nice crisp cross section, they work beautifully. This test bracelet (crocheted by Jen K.) would be a great place to use cylinder beads.

Here is a pattern if you want to see what cylinder beads look like in bead crochet. Warning: this is a JPEG photo so it is a bit fuzzy. It is also a test pattern and does not tell you how to get different colors on different sides of the triangle & twists.

October 16, 2007

Fall in New Hampshire

Some of my Internet friends asked for a virtual Leaf Peeping tour from my area. Unfortunately it's been a warm Fall (no frost yet!) and we've had some heavy thunderstorms. The red swamp maples are long gone by and the sugar maples are turning gradually and promptly losing their leaves. The best color I could find was at my two favorite local farm stands.

Tenny Farm had a goodly amount of pumpkins and mums, but the good apples (Northern Spy) are not in yet.

Cauncy Farm had a disappointing year for pumpkins. Usually this field is piled high with them. However their crop of beautiful sunflowers was just great over the summer.

I went out behind Antrim's Town Hall, hoping for some great color, but just had to contend with the town ducks, who were certain I had come just to feed them.

The Town Mill Pond did have a tree or two showing the almost glowing orange/yellow color I really enjoy.


A trip to my favorite pic-nic place, Beards Brook, found a bit more color, but nothing like what it has been in past years.


By the time I got to Powder Mill Pond the rain clouds were starting to roll back in and a chilly breeze had sprung up.

Sorry Ladies, this seems the best I can do for Fall Foliage in this neck of the woods this year.

October 9, 2007

Bead Journal - non progress

September's page is started, which means that I now have 2 month's "in the works" and it's already October! Am I behind or what? So, should I start October's also and have a whole 3 month's worth of work in progress?

This one will celebrate September's Harvest Moon; rich, large glowing orb that came up over the trees and was showcased in my bedroom window. The goldstone cab was purchased years ago in New Orleans and has a small chip on one edge. I like that tiny dip in the overall symmetry. I think I'm going to let this one just grow as I bead around the cab - no plans, no design, just letting the beads talk their way to what it wants to be.

October 8, 2007

Fall River Treasure

"Over the river(s) and through the woods..... To a treasure of a bead store, did I go." Never mind that I get lost in my own back yard and inadvertently also saw Providence RI and Quincy MA on this trip....... It was a wonderful trip to do a series of workshops at Turquoise-StringBeads in Fall River Mass.

I'm used to New Hampshire's brick mill buildings and was wonderfully surprised to see all of the beautiful old granite block mills still standing and being put to other uses now. I love seeing some of the neat details when you get close to them.

There are these beautiful iron rounds across the width of every floors - I'm assuming they are used to hold the walls upright and parallel?



I've always been fascinated seeing how previous generations mend things and often find them miniature works of art. This piece of screening was mended with wire that was much larger than the original metal fabric.

When I arrived at my destination, I was totally surprised at what I found inside this industrial old mill building.

Go up the stairs and turn left .....

And you find a very comprehensive bead shop staffed by the most delightful and helpful people.

.....and lots and lots and lots of beads.

Every bead shop should have a classroom that is big enough to dance in.

What a pampered, delightful experience for a visiting instructor. I do know that I hope they invite me back next year.
If you are ever in that neck of the woods, be sure to stop in as I know you'd enjoy visiting this shop or attending workshops there. Oh, and did I mention "sparklies"? There are crystals everywhere - in all of their glorious colors, sizes and shapes!

October 2, 2007

Bead Sizes

I was showing a non-beading, computer friend the difference in bead sizes and shapes and then thought the photos were interesting enough to share here.

Japanese seed beads are the most regular in size and have a less rounded shape than those from the Czech Republic. However there are still variations as you can see in the two size 8/0 beads. They come with numbered colors so you stand a chance of getting the same colors again. Just look out for lot color variations.

Seed beads from the Czech Republic are nice rounded, pot-bellied beads. I like to use these in bead crochet ropes because they move against each other like ball bearings and add to the suppleness of the work. Besides, these come in a wide range of luscious, unusual colors. Just don't ever expect to find the same colors again a year or two later.

September 27, 2007

the Cats came to Visit

Harley has been visiting me for 5 years. He thinks my apartment is his personal escape-from-the-kids Summer place. Yesterday morning he was waiting at the door when I got up, having been out tomcatting all night. He ambled in, turned around, hissed and growled at George as if to say, "stay out!" then got a snack and took over the couch.
George is the new cat at the big house and is very leery about coming in my door as his housemate Harley, doesn't think he should share. I had put a cat donut out on the porch to give away and George thought it was the perfect place to nap after a hard night of hunting and he can keep an eye on me through the screen door where I sit at the computer. I guess the donut will have to stay on the porch as George was curled up there again this morning waiting for a few scratches and some petting.

My son says that Harley starts going to my apartment door and meowing when the snow is gone and it turns warm in the spring ... as if to say, "it's time, where are you?" I'm blessed when the cats come to visit and curl up on my lap purring.