December 27, 2008
The Christmas cake turned out spectacular this year. I love the crisp, detailed bundt mold I found last year. Christmas day was spent out in the Ghost Town of Gleeson AZ with my Sister. She now owns the old 1800's jail and is restoring it. My G'kids think that is cool - a Great Aunt that owns a jail!
Brrrr ... Yesterday afternoon it got dark and then we got sleet, snow and frigid temps. It's a bit early for our area of Arizona to have 25 degree weather with the white stuff. The nice thing is that the sun is out and it's already starting to go away. So we almost had a White Christmas.
It's a bit late to post trip photos, but I did want to share this find from the Windmill Museum in Lubbock Texas.
I found it fascinating that the birds could even work with the stiff pieces of wire plus barbed wire.
Enjoy what's left of 2008.
Did you know it'll be leap second year?
December 24, 2008
I've been in touch with friends and family in New Hampshire and followed the news about ice and snow. Seems they are well on their way to setting, or at least matching weather records. I feel fortunate to have escaped NH's wintry weather and am still wearing my flip-flops.
Tombstone has been chilly, but not downright cold! The house has been mostly put back together and project plans for the winter formulated. I've not gotten any any beading done, but have been working on mental beading with my programmer partner. Since he has learned to bead crochet, he's made me see things about the technique that I never thought to know.
The pies and Christmas cake are made, the roast beast is in the fridge and all is ready to go out to my Sister's place in Gleeson tomorrow to share the holiday meal. Only in my family would there be plans to spend part of the day admiring an 1880's jail restoration project and climbing around a sheet metal junkyard.
December 13, 2008
Here is a mystery. I bought 8 of these in a junk store and have no clue as to what they might be. They are brass stampings with porcelain-center knobs. One end is marked "JUDD - Pat." the other "March 1889" Thinking ... some sort of drapery hardware? Don't know what I'll do with them, but they are just mighty interesting. Does anyone have any idea of what they are?
December 8, 2008
Better than half way to Tombstone. Home soon.
November 30, 2008
The most amazing thing, in my mind, is that my programmer friend in Arizona has taught himself to bead crochet from the video in about a week's time. This is a man who had never beaded or crocheted before. He has had to ask me a million questions about beads and bead crocheting while working on the Bead Crochet Element Designer software. He finally found success by using large wood beads and nylon cord. He called today to announce that he is now down to size 8/0 beads and is excited that he got it to work with "those small beads"! I won't say that it will work for everyone, but with a testimonial like that from a sixty year old, motorcycle, computer guy, maybe you should give it a try - it's a classroom on your computer or TV.
November 26, 2008
November 22, 2008
Bead-Patterns. As these are for downloading and then importing into the Bead Crochet Element Designer, it's taken some time and work to figure out how to handle them. You don't get a pdf nor do you get something you can print out, you get a *.bce file that you have to save to your BCED folder and then open in the program.
There is a free design element, Boxed, to try things out and see just how it works and the Double V's you see here, for sale. If you try this out, let me know how your experience was. If I get good feedback, I will work on getting some design libraries up.
After weeks of frustrating, non-progress, in everything on my work table (or computer) things have jumped ahead overnight. Now if the weather would just quit being so cold, I'd be totally happy. It's 21 degrees, windy and snow flurries predicted!
November 16, 2008
See where this is going?
Yes, I then spent a couple of enjoying (frustrated) hours playing with wire. The big spool wire is a stainless alloy and tended to work harden very quickly. I couldn't manage to get the hang of weaving with it so I grabbed a spool of much softer, coated magnet wire that I use for twisted wire earrings. Hallelujah, it was just what I needed and soon had a rhythm going of lopping and pulling through. I still like the idea of the stainless alloy wire for this technique and the next spare moment I have will try that again. I really like the look of the chain after it is reduced through a draw plate. I don't think my first attempt is all that terrible and may use it in something.
I think this will be a very effective bead crochet pattern if I can ever get the danged thing strung right. I've taken out the strung bead sequence 4 times now. It doesn't help that it is 39 rows long and I was watching NASCAR races while trying to read, count and pick up beads. Maybe I need to try doing just one thing at a time when it's a long stringing table.
I spent the other day playing with a very rough version of the next iteration of bead crochet design software and came up with 6 rather neat patterns. Now I just have to get them strung (correctly!) and worked up. I guess I'd better do it at my work table without the TV going!
November 8, 2008
I found Hodgson Mill Pasta Flour the other day and it will serve for both pasta and crackers. Now I'm wondering what would happen if I cheese flavored the dough, ran it through the angel
hair setting on the machine and baked the results.... Would I get
I found these wonderful packs of matte square plastic buttons in great happy colors. I'm thinking that they would make another light weight finger woven bracelet. What a neat contrast of the suppleness of the technique and the graphic squareness of the buttons. Adding a small chain of beads between the holes on the top would add just that hint of a sparkle to the whole bracelet. Yep, 4 packets went into my basket!
The button aisle yielded a few that will work as a toggle style closure for any beaded bracelet. These are nicely made metal buttons and have a bit of style to them.
November 5, 2008
November 2, 2008
I had wanted to get this up before Halloween, but somehow life threw me a couple of curves as well as a phlegmy head cold. I got these beautiful matte orange lentils from Bead Cats a couple of years ago and they just screamed Halloween to me. By the way, Bead Cats has long been my source for lentils as they seem to have the widest choice of colors of any one out there.
The Flat Caterpillar bracelet is one of my favorite bead crochet techniques because of the supple feel to them. This one has been a particular favorite because of the color contrast and always seems to draw the notice of other people.
pattern for you to try.
It's in a JPEG format, which makes it a wee bit fuzzy when printed. Just click on the photo for a full size version, then right click and select print.
I used a vintage, orange Bakelite button for the clasp, however any button would work. How about one of the candy corn buttons I've seen this year in the stores?
October 27, 2008
October 26, 2008
So.... I needed to completely change my web page and re-configure all of the Shopping Cart Buttons. One thing led to another and I also decided that I needed to completely update my web page. Old software from 1998 didn't do the job any more..... New software that I'm evaluating, does things so differently that I'm having trouble getting things to do what I envision things to be.... My short term solution was to buy an updated HTML for Dummies and go back to hand coding pages. Somewhere in the last 10 years my brain seems to have lost the knowledge I had of what code did what things. I did decide to offer a limited number of the Bead Crochet Element Designer Software for sale through my web site. Once I figured out the other changes, this one was easy.
OK, as long as I'm whining, I guess I'd better add in the other thing that is causing me planning problems: buying a house. I've had an offer in on a pre-foreclosure home for 7 weeks now - nothing, nada, niet... Bank won't give me a clue as to what they are going to do, or doing, thinking of doing, or even when they might have an answer. I certainly don't want to be in NH when the snow starts to come down, besides it's difficult to work on a structure when it's sleeting outside.
As to beading - it's been very low on the "To Do" list. It's hard to get excited about anything creative when your mind is roiling with other what if things. I have been slowly working on another finger woven bracelet with light weight wooden propellers. I think I'm doing a series of bracelets that have light weight in common. This will make the 3rd one that does not use glass beads as the main elements. At least they are light hearted, fun and cheerful to make up.
October 20, 2008
This bracelet has been sitting beside the side of the couch, waiting for the finishing touches - the beaded knots that hold the button on. I finally got them done tonight. I used the start of the bracelet as an example for a workshop and then had fun playing with different elements to see how they might work up. Elegant jewelery it isn't but .... it was fun to make and see what happened. The colored safety pins are an example of using whatever has a hole in it. The wooden propellers are something I picked up in Feb. with the idea that they would work well in a finger woven bracelet - I was right! The button closure really isn't a button, but a wooden earring piece that I drilled two off set holes in. It works nicely as the bulk of the button sits nicely on top of the loop and doesn't leave a huge bare area. Now I'm going to try a bracelet with a mixture of purple and lime green wood propellers.
October 2, 2008
This bead crocheted choker embodies the sense of a gray, stormy day, dark piles of wet fallen leaves on the ground and a hint of the low horizon Harvest Moon. I can see the moon's surface features in the stone.
I crocheted the the side pieces of this choker with 6mm red tigereye roundels and had it sitting around for the better part of a year, looking for the perfect center bead. It didn't become just a plain choker because I was short red tigereye to make it fit around my neck. That's when I ran across the "mine shaft basalt" bead at Gary's booth and it was the most perfect fit.
Every year at the Tucson Gem shows, I always visit Gary Wilson's booth to see what he has that is new. In the past, he has had beads and cabs made from "Ball canning jars", 1930's Jadeite tableware shards, "Fordite" (vintage factory layers of Ford automotive paint), and vintage pool hall balls. Then there are the minerals or rocks. If you want something that does not fall into the usual ho-hum category, then his pieces are well worth your while.
September 28, 2008
Fall colors are really starting to show around the countryside. Here are some Mums that I saw last weekend when we went to watch Yankee Siege (a Trebuchet) fling pumpkins.
The first material that I found was vintage Lucite - it sure isn't your kid's plastic beads! The detail is amazing. Combine that with a translucent quality in some of the items, add great subtle coloring and you have a medium that I fell in love with. I've been buying old earrings and necklaces for some of my stock and the rest comes from Beadin' Path up in Maine. I could spend hours (& $$'s) in that store.
The first lightweight piece I did was a finger woven bracelet with Lucite flowers and leaves. I paired the flowers with 6mm faceted roundels in semi-precious stones (citrine, amethyst, tourmaline, quartz, blue topaz) and topped them with red Delicas. This bracelet weighs less than an ounce compared to five ounces in the last one I did with glass beads. I actually think it's more striking than the full glass bead bracelets. It's easy on the wrist and gets noticed when I wear it.
When I was at the Tucson shows this February I grabbed a bunch of brightly dyed wood beads - not having a clue as to what I was going to use them for. I just liked the shapes and colors and the very low price. Seems like a lot of beads just follow me home that way. Some of the the wooden beads have now found a home in my current finger woven bracelet project.
This is sort of an, "I wonder what would happen if....?" bracelet. I had a packet of colored safety pins lying around - looked at the holes at one end and had to try them in a bracelet. I added some purple Lucite rings and liked the eclectic, wire look. Next, I added a bunch of the small purple propeller-like wood beads and ...WOW! I never imagined they'd sit up like that and nestle together so nicely. OK, I'll finish the safety pin bracelet, but I can't wait to try a whole piece with the propeller wood beads. See the aqua sticks at the top of my wood bead collection? That's another, "I wonder what would happen if....? idea for a funky bracelet.
I'm having fun exploring finger weaving with lightweight materials. It all seems to fit together and works well. I guess I've come to the realization that it's not the materials, but what you do with them that is important. Glass and gemstone beads are still 90% of my collection, but I've now made room for other materials.
September 6, 2008
While driving, I started noticing the doors on Indiana barns... Most of them had the door trim painted on them in an arch pattern. Indiana had red barns and Ohio had white barns. Wonder what local customs dictates the color of barns?
Some were realistic and others were just sort of a scalloped top edge.
A nicely done fresh coat of paint.
Even the little doors had painted arch trim.
This gem of an octagonal barn was just sitting in a field all by itself. What beautiful details.
September 5, 2008
Anaconda MT has a 1920's building that was a drugstore and then a theater in the 40's. Loads of original interior things are still there. The price was right, but too far away from NH.
I like to travel, but there just wasn't enough space in this caboose converted to an efficiency apartment. The price included a rail move once a year.
This old firehouse just north of me in NH had great possibilities. It had the right open span space on the lower floor and a great apartment above. The drawback was that the building sat on a lot that was just 3' larger than the building... no septic system or well. I could deal with a chemical toilet, but finding a shower elsewhere was a real problem.
We drove by this old school building in Erie PA and had to stop and take another look. Sigh, again it wasn't in the right state. Wouldn't it make a great studio and home?
There are a lot of loft-type places out there, but the big problem is that they all seem to be in cities. I'm needing something in the country, or at least where I can look out at green growing things rather than buildings. Meanwhile, I thought some of you might enjoy some of the more intresting places that I've run across.
August 25, 2008
Now I'm all set to go with either one,
or all three - in a nice bulky bundle...
Funny how photos come out... same location, same camera, taken seconds apart and different color hues. The first one is probably the closest to real life colors.