June 30, 2007

Sunday on Monday

When you can set your own schedule, it's fun to be able to declare Monday a Sunday and take a drive.

After the long trip across country it's going to be fun to just take short drives and explore a few of the natural wonders right here in New Hampshire. Tucked away, in the Lakes Region is this small state park, Sculptured Rocks.

Water has carved down through
the granite and created a fantastic landscape in the bedrock. What a peaceful place to stand and listen to the gurgle of the water while you enjoy the coolness in the green woods.


There is a small bridge over the gorge that allows you to look up and down stream as well as straight down on the rock formations.



Then it's time to pick flowers. If you can't get away to take a drive and look at the scenery then a walk in the fields and woods around the house, seeing what might be blooming, and picking a few flowers can help calm an upsetting day. The bouquet also looks beautiful on the windowsill to enjoy for days to come.

June 27, 2007

AZ to NH Vacation - part 2

The remainder of the trip was spent visiting family and friends and I won't bore you with personal gossip. Instead, I thought I'd share some of the sights along the way that caused us to turn around, go back, look again or say, "WHAT?" ....

Creativity is where you find it... This is a view of my car through an Arizona bathroom window. Love the fractured colors and shapes ... and the sight of several adults crowded into a smallish power room saying... "neat!"

Payson, AZ has a subdivision off of the local airport that is set up to fly your plane in, taxi home and put it in your own garage. I love the kid-sized stop/street signs - it lets the wings go right over them

Seen in New Mexico - What a neat idea - light industrial space under and a light filled, two bedroom apartment over. Perfect for the home-based business. Now I'm wondering if the idea would catch on in rural New Hampshire as I'd love to have living space with studio arranged this way.

Amarillo, Texas gave us the great fun of walking a cow pasture that holds Cadillac Ranch. Ten half buried cars covered with layers and layers of graffiti.

Looking for dinner somewhere
around Wichita Falls we giggled at a local bar sign, but didn't venture in for a drink.

And were amazed at how Texans managed their highways.

I like rusted metal and could have hauled everything on this truck home with me.

While looking for dinner one night we got semi-lost in an industrial part of town. I looked over and saw these eyes looking back at me from a deserted building. A U-turn took us back to find even more great art on the side of the building. I wished that I could have transplanted the whole structure to my back yard to use as a studio.

Somehow I should have expected to find the really unusual in Texas.... I saw the long horns in a field and caught the distinctive shape of camel out of the side of my eye. Going back and looking again showed us zebras, camels and long horned cattle - all in the same pasture.

Heading into the Midwest, I had to take this photo for my Son who is into cars and believes that the 50's & 60's are ancient history. Wonder what that says for his Mother who lived those decades?

Someone in Farmer City IL must have a problem with the Town Fathers....

The windmill farm near Bloomington IL proved fascinating. There are hundreds of them planted in the midst of cornfields and it isn't until you get close that you realize just how big they really are. We just had to take a midnight run to see what it looked like at night as they all blink red in unison (well almost all).

I like cemeteries and seeing different regional grave markers. We visited some of our ancestors in Central Illinois and I noticed the unique cast cement grave markers. This family plot had urns, a tree trunk, a chair and corner markers - all in fanciful, ornate cement.

Just North of Farmer City, IL we came to a "T" in the road and wondered just what this sign was trying to tell us.

A side trip to Virden IL allowed me to find my Grandparent's home. I spent the first year of my life in this house while my Father was overseas in WWII. I remember it as being dark brown, a lot bigger, and having a huge oak tree in the side yard. Funny thing... I met my friend & co-driver in NH, through the Internet, yet both of our beginnings were close to each other in Illinois.

Everyone should attend some sort of reunion every 20 years or so .... I spent a weekend listening to tall tales and many stories of races won/lost in the CCSCC (car club) as well as people wondering just when they had gotten so gray.

A last minute change in plans took us to Toronto and through Canada. The University of Toronto is a beautiful campus. I enjoyed the blend of old and new architecture situated in the center of a large metropolitan area. The line on the ground for the Meridian of Toronto was a fascinating fact.

Canine Stories:
What's a trip without a couple of good animal photos?

In Ohio we visited with Boo, a dog that winters next door to me in Arizona and is convinced that my house is his second home. Playing with a grandchild and chalk gave us this view of a multi-striped dog.

What the well dressed dog wears in Toronto.

The End....

Coming through Newbury NH, I caught sight of one of the local legends. I was finally back in New Hampshire and feeling of two minds - not wanting the trip to end, but also wanting to stop moving and find the comfort of my own bed.

June 25, 2007

Bead Journal - June #2

Beads on Backing - finally
Note: edited to allow "click to view" larger beadwork images.

I just might make it with this piece by the end of June. It felt so good to finally be putting beads on the backing that I had to force myself to put it down at 1 am and go to bed. I flattened out two of the walking stick emblems that I collected on my travels earlier in the month. The enamel colors are striking and are icons of this month's "trip - journey" theme.
This is what my ATC-sized back for June's piece looks like. I did the graphics first and am now beading that thought or theme for the front.

As I put the piece down last night I picked up a twig I had collected in New Mexico and had an "aha moment". I'm so used to making wearable art that until that moment I had not thought of incorporating fragile things. This piece will be displayed, not worn, so I can use things that would not survive the wear and tear of a jewelery piece. Now that opens new opportunities and makes room for more creative journal pages.

June 24, 2007

To Beads from Rags!

Day 8 of AZ to NH Trip
....was spent with Rita and Dave Sova in Albuquerque NM.

This is what Sova Enterprises looks like. It's a small, home-based operation that brings us the great Bead Patterns site.

Put two creative heads together and you never know what will emerge. I was telling Rita about the twined rugs that I saw at the Gifford Homestead and what a simple, but interesting thing it was. Well, after "what-iffing" for a bit, Rita got out a Versa Loom and we raided her supplies for anything that might work using the twining principal. We used a "Sugar & Cream" cotton crochet thread to warp the loom with. It took the added help of a tapestry needle and crochet hook to get the warp
threads in place.

The technique is quite simple.... Double a piece of fabric (ribbon) and twine each side over and under the warp threads. You'd have to purchase the book for more in depth information and the many variations that could be done.

Not wanting to get too thick, yet retain the fabric feel of the original weaving, I used ribbon to start the piece with.... and twined several rows with the doubled ribbon. This makes a rather nice feeling fabric all by itself.

The next obstacle to overcome was beads that would fit over the ribbon. A size 6/0 Czech bead did the trick nicely and allowed me to see what would happen.

One row used one piece/side of the ribbon, and the next row the other piece. Nice "V" effect to the placement of the beads.

This is thick and a bit on the crude side, but the whole idea was to prove to ourselves that the rug technique could be translated to beads on the Versa Loom. However, with the materials that we used it would make a rather nice small purse.


The visit wasn't long enough to finish what I started. It was just long enough to prove to myself that it would work and had merit. I have enough on my plate at the moment to continue playing with this idea, so invite anyone out there to continue experimenting with the process and see what they can come up with. Both Rita and I think it has some great possibilities.

Tell me what you think.... is this a worthwhile idea to try with beads?

Twining ~ rags to beads

Day 5 of AZ to NH Trip


We left Torrey UT with plans to see the pictographs in the Capitol Reef National Park.


RAGS ...

However, a stop in the Visitor's Center changed the plans. I bought a book on rag rugs and wanted to see the demonstration at the Gifford Homestead. I knew how the technique was used in basketry, but had not seen how it was used in rag rugs.

It was a joy to drive out of the stark rocks into this canyon pocket of lush green growing things dotted with fruit orchards. I'm sorry I didn't take more photos of the area.

Gifford House Kitchen

Rag Rug in simple pine frame

Detail of warping on nails

Detail of rag twining in process


See my next post for why I found this exciting as the technique gets swapped to beads on a Versa Loom.

The other rather nice surprise at the Gifford Homestead was finding fresh, home cooked pies and bread. We took a break from driving and sat under a tree, listening to the quiet country sounds, savoring the still-warm strawberry/rhubarb pie with fresh bread and jam for desert. Shut my eyes and it brought back childhood memories of my Grandmother's Missouri farm porch when the spring rhubarb came in.

June 22, 2007

AZ to NH Vacation - #1

I have about 300 photos of my trip from AZ to NH and it's going to be hard to select just a few things to show you. I didn't work, I didn't bead, I just looked and visited......

The trip started in the hills of Tombstone with bright blue skies and almost 90 degree sunshine.

Tombstone was celebrating Wyatt Earp Days and was boisterous, loud and a lot of gutsy cowboy fun.

A bunch of us went to the Crystal Palace for a farewell dinner and did a bit of playing as well.


The car was packed with beads and sundry other necessities and we took off for the long drive to the East coast.


We were very lucky to have a personal tour of Payson, Arizona. The husband of a friend acted as tour guide and showed us things we never would have found on our own. Chuck is a dear and the very best tour guide I have ever encountered.

We saw the Mogollon Rim country from low to high as well as indigenous ruins and an watched an active forest fire.


Payson has some beautiful scenery as well as being where some of my very dear beading friends live.

The next stop was the North rim of the Grand Canyon. To my mind the views from that side beat the usual tourist stop at the South rim.

Spring was showing itself in the bright green of new growth on the pine trees. No wonder this is one of my favorite colors.

Bryce Canyon was worth the whole trip. Yes, I shuddered as we drove roads that turned curves and looked straight down.... and down and down! I had been through this area when I was about 14, but I really don't remember the spectacular views.


Mother Nature can sure put on a spectacular show.

Arches National Park was a bit of a disappointment as the arches looked more spectacular in the photos than in person. However, the tall, narrow, flat sandstone rock formations were formidable and I couldn't stop looking at the variations all over the place.

Driving route 12 through southern Utah was one picture post card after another. However, my co-driver accused me of putting my foot through the floor when riding shotgun up and down the narrow switchbacks. The heights gave me the willies, but I couldn't help looking at the sights that kept unfolding.

Even the motels in the area had unbelievable views - witness this one from my motel window.

We finished the first segment of our journey at the Mesa Verde cliff dwelling ruins. It's hard to believe the age and preservation of these houses. If you shut your eyes, you can almost hear the people going about their lives tucked up under the cliffs.

Next stop (post) will be home made pie at the Gifford House that led to beading experimentation in Albuquerque - stay tuned......