October 27, 2008

New Kitchen Toy

When I'm cold, I bake - just ask my kids.... When I'm depressed or upset, I cook - anything, something. I've been wanting to try home made crackers forever and a week ago decided it was time to finally do it and take my frustrations out on the dough. Besides the weather was getting quite chill. After all of the rolling and very tired arm muscles, I decided to surf eBay for a pasta maker to do the rolling for me. I like kitchen gadgets, but not of the electrical persuasion. My West German, vintage pasta maker came in today. What a find as I don't think it had ever been used more than once - all nice painted cast iron with fine brass rollers. I couldn't wait to try it out, so a little cleaning and I put it to use with a pasta dough. We had fresh noodles with a bit of butter and garlic for dinner tonight. You can't beat fresh pasta as it's so different from the dried commercial kind. I'll leave the machine up and tomorrow try another variation of the crackers I made last week ... black bean flour mixed with the wheat flour and a few herbs thrown in. No tired muscles from trying to get the dough as thin as possible. I have just the right, very sharp Cheddar to go with those crackers!

October 26, 2008

House Cleaning - Webs & Such

Funny how things that you think are set in stone suddenly become quicksand! Right now I'm totally frustrated. I have had a small local NH company handling orders and shipping my Bead Crochet Books. They have done a great job and also stored all of the inventory for me. The end of September they told me that they were going out of business and could no longer handle my books. Right now I have cases of books clogging the floor of my studio and I'm going to have to figure out just how many should go with me to AZ. I have such small volume that no one else wanted the job and I guess I'm going to have to do it. One more thing to have to pack into the Element. Guess I'd better start calculating weight load for this trip West.

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 One was Fun

Robin Atkins introduced me to finger weaving and it's become a favorite technique to use up left over beads and treasures.

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.

I noticed a problem the other day and am uncertain what to do about it. I picked up two of my freeform peyote bracelets to photograph as headers for a re-vamped web site and both of them had broken edge threads. One is 3 years old and the other is 2 years old and have (maybe) 6-8 hours of wear each. I've used size "D" C-Lon or Nymo, nylon beading thread. Yes, I can repair them, but if they had been sold, I'm sure their owners would have been upset. Is it my tension - is it the threads - is it chipped beads - or something else? I cull my beads as I work ,but I do tend to have extra tight tension. Anyone have any ideas of what might be happening?

The green and white ones have broken edge threads.
The black and amber bracelet, which is about 6 years old and made with Nymo is just fine despite many more hours of wearing.

October 2, 2008

Dark and Stormy Night.

October's Art Bead Scene monthly challenge is a piece that embodies a
Dark and Stormy Night

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.