May 19, 2007

Count Down ~ AZ to NH

There is only a week left before the car gets packed and I start on the 4,000 mile, 3 week journey to my NH Summer place. I may, or may not have access to computers along the way, so don't look for anything more from me til Mid June.

Beading Projects
The other day someone asked me if I concentrated on a single bead project, or had more than one in the works. I did a quick inventory of what's started. It's also a good way to figure out what to pack near the top for working on as I travel.
My finger woven bracelet is still in the same place it was a month ago. Not something that is really very portable.
I recently collected all of the pieces for a bead embroidered motorcycle cap that will be a gift for a friend. I had planned on doing a flame peyote headband, but haven't liked the way it was going and ripped it out several times. Another one that will get packed for later.
I've had this broad collar started for about 6 months and it seems to be stalled. Making multiple peyote strips is boring and somehow it keeps drifting to the bottom of the list. Might be a good travel project as it has a limited amount of beads to spill.
Then there is always bead crochet ...... As long as I get the beads strung, it's perfect travel beading. I really don't have a specific project started, but do have a lot of new designs I want to try out.

I completed my Louisiana swamp bracelet some time ago and started a matching free form necklace. This has been my "pick up & go" winter project. Everything is in a box and if I'm going to bead with friends, I can just grab the box, go and work on it. I think this one has to go to the very top of the list as I have a dinner event I have to attend in Illinois and this set would work perfectly with a long linen dress I am planning on wearing.

To answer the original question - I always have multiple beading projects waiting to be worked on. I never know what will suit my mood of the time. Also, I've just added another project to the list, Robin Adkin's 2007 Bead Journal Project. This is in the planning stage and will be ongoing for a year.
Note: my trip East, this year, will go from Tombstone AZ to Phoenix & Payson AZ, southern Utah, through a piece of Colorado, Albuquerque NM, Gilmer TX, Memphis TN, Blommington & Urbana IL, Bluffton OH, along the bottom of the Great Lakes and end in Antrim NH.

May 14, 2007

New Journeys

....... or what have I gotten myself into?

At my advanced age, I should be kicking back, staying in one place, slowing down and enjoying my Grandkids. Instead, I've added several layers of new journeys to my life. The literal journey; fun & easy, is packing the beads into the orange Honda box and taking 3 weeks to visit and sightsee, on a 4,000 mile drive from Arizona to spend the summer in NH. The business journey is working on a third Bead Crochet Book; stressful, deadline prone, not easy, but fulfilling. The personal journey is finally deciding to let a casual, long distance relationship with a man slide into the realm of less casual and see where it goes; also fun, but not easy and a bit scary. Then there is a brand new creative journey ......

Bead Journal Project

Robin Adkins has started a year-long Bead Journal Project. Here and here is more information on the project. I signed up as I've been talking about wanting to do a major-type bead project for a couple of years now. This one captured my creative attention, is in a medium that was my first beading love, is in manageable chunks, and gives me some structure to carry it through to the end.

I can do bead embroidery. I like doing bead embroidery, seldom plan a piece, and always like what comes off of my needle. I haven't done much with this technique since bead crochet took over my beading life. It's time to rediscover it and expand my horizons with things I wanted to try out in this medium.

I can free think or free form in beads. For me it is an almost sensual pleasure and an antidote to the rigid planning & structure of bead crochet. I love playing with texture, color and the uninhibited growth of a freeform piece.

Bead crochet is the intellectual part and talks to my high need for planning, organization, and structure in my life. Through books, patterns and workshops, it has provided me with the wherewithal to not have a 9-5 job.

Now, can I translate all of this into a project that will carry through twelve months? This is from a person who has never kept a diary or a journal in her entire life.

OK, I need structure and organization..... I need to have a vision of how the pieces are going to fit together at the end. I have a need for the equivalent of physical blank journal pages. I have decided on an ATC size of 2.5" x 3.5" for the bead embroidery part. I cover my fabric entirely with beads, so I need to keep the work a lot smaller than a breadbox. Each of those base pieces will be that month's comment as well as be an explorations of old and new ways with fabric, needle, thread and beads. Then I need to give the freeform side even more room and further embellish each base piece with bits and pieces of each month's life experiences. I'm thinking of adding a laminated statement or comment to the back of each card - I'll have to see if that works or not over time.

So let's see where this series of journeys finishes or abruptly ends.

May 13, 2007

1880's Adobe House

I've always said that if I lived in the desert, I'd live in a real adobe house. Three years ago I had the opportunity to buy one in Arizona and restore it. See the temperatures - that's why I like living inside adobe walls. If you manage an adobe house correctly, you have little need for air conditioning.

Both the exterior and interior walls in my house are between 12" and 14" thick. The worst of it is that it takes major planning to be able to hang anything on the walls. You decide, once, where you want something and you don't get to move that nail without having to do a lot of patching. My Brother-in-Law taught me the correct way to do it. You drill a 3/4" hole in the adobe, then pound a hardwood dowel in until it's flush with the surface. After that you can nail or screw into the dowel and hang a picture.

Nothing is very straight in the house and the cement floors dip in unexpected places. To my way of thinking, it just adds to the original charm of the place.

Packing Up - Closing Down

The large Nopal cactus outside of the beadroom window has bloomed and is busy putting out new leaf pads. It's time to sort the beads all back into their Plano boxes for their car trip East. My beading table looks bare with just a few projects on it. Now it's time to start down my "get out of town" check list and get ready to shut up the house. I'll be leaving Arizona Memorial Day weekend, heading for New Hampshire for the Summer. This trip will take a bit longer as I'm taking a side trip through Northern Arizona and Southern Utah to look at the rocks & beautiful scenery. I'll also stop and visit with at least five beading friends as I wend my way East. Once again I'll have a co-driver so I can gawk at what's outside half of the time. It's always more fun to share a trip like this.

May 6, 2007

Real & Felted Flowers

The Arizona cactus are starting to bloom and they are just beautiful. I have some hedgehog cactus by my front door as they are the first to bloom and I can enjoy them before I leave for the summer. The yellow and orange blooms on the prickly pear follow next. Any of them are inspiration for beading projects - or felted flowers.

Yesterday, my Sister Jill and friend Ginger came over to try their hands at making felted flowers. We used the great instructions found on Gleason's Fine Woolies Ranch site. Ginger brought her collection of felt hats and I dug out all of my felting supplies.

It's always relaxing to have an afternoon of doing creative things and experimenting. Jill and I had been talking about doing this all winter and finally it came down to now or never as I'm heading East in a couple of weeks.

Ginger added a needle felted edge to the hat she had made in a workshop and then created a felted flower to perk the whole hat up. Jill is modeling both the hat and the felted flower pin that she created.

It's always fun to play dress up, no matter what age you are.

Winding Down in Arizona
Now it's time to start thinking about packing for the trip to New Hampshire. I've already been making piles of treasures that I've collected over the winter to take with me. Many of them are unusual Arizona or Mexican items that will be gifts for friends and family.