February 20, 2009

Beading Color Choices

In between building projects, I've been trying to update and pull together an old workshop from 2001. I was asked to come up with something that a novice beader could accomplish in about 4 hours. The written materials needed very little work, but I no longer have any samples left.

I've laid out materials for two different bracelets and now need to get them worked up. The pink and green crystals will have a certain Spring-like bling. The other combination is more earthy and Fallish. I am thinking that I would like to foster some creative color choices with this workshop. If I have time I might make a third sample in crayon brights.

The boards I did for my building project came out such a nice color. Now I'm wondering what plain wooden beads might look like if soaked in the rusty vinegar solution. I could see them paired with old keys and other assorted vintage looking components.

boards in the bath

My Arizona building project is coming along, although a bit slower than I planned. I had to stop and find an old-school stucco guy as all of a sudden parts of the back garage wall went "whuuump" and the top layer of stucco fell off.

To top off the supply problem, every building supply place closer than half a day's drive was out of semi-transparent stain. I looked at plywood siding and fake plywood siding and hated the look of all of it. Yetch, it just didn't look right - not with a 100+ year old adobe. Then I saw wide, rough cut, cedar fence boards. They looked right. A bit of research on the Internet turned up the fact that rusty steel wool swished around in vinegar produced a liquid that turned cedar a weathered gray-brown.

As it was too windy and cold outside, I tested the rusty vinegar stain out in the bathroom. I liked what I saw and here is what it produced - aged, old-looking boards. Sixty one boards later, I had siding that really looked right. Coming up with an outside finish for the enclosed porch has been almost as difficult as picking beads for a project.


What do you think?

Looks like it's been there a lot longer than 24 hours.

February 10, 2009

Tombstone Winter

This was last week and the way I like to look at snow during the winter here in Arizona.

(photo by Ken Campbell)

This is what I woke up to this morning.

View from the front door, out under the porch. No signs of a snow plow, guess I'll have to wait for it to stop snowing and melt off!


The big Nopal off the end of my back porch doesn't look too happy. When I took the photo, I was startled as there were doves flying out from under the porch. I guess the birds found a spot that was dry and somewhat warmer.

I guess I won't go to the last Gem shows today, as planned, because the people in Tucson have all forgotten how to drive in a couple of inches of snow ..... if they ever knew how! I've still got 3 days to catch the last of the Holidome & Gem Mall shows.

February 6, 2009

Tucson Gem Shows #2

Yesterday I went to the Best Bead Show and the Grant Inn Wholesale show with Ken, my programmer partner. I forgot to take my camera! Nothing new and different to report. It was interesting to watch Ken search out even smaller sizes of black and white beads for a project that he wants to try. He actually bought antique size 24/0 beads to bead crochet with. I'll believe it when I actually see a rope with beads that small.

I did get to look at some of the new 15/0 Delicas. Not for me, but if you want even more definition in some patterns, they would be just perfect. I believe they come in around 100+ colors.

I guess I need to have my eyes checked before I take any more chances on off-brand beads. I was repacking the Chinese beads I bought on Monday when I noticed a fine powder in the tubes. Closer inspection showed them to be a red color-lined and not the two-toned glass that I had thought them to be. The color lining is rapidly coming out of the hole and soon they will be just a transparent green bead. Oh well, $4 is a cheap lesson in looking more closely at a product. Anyone want some really cheap beads?

February 3, 2009

Tucson Gem Shows 2009

I usually save the Rapa River and Pueblo shows for the last and go enjoy looking at mineral specimens and what Mother Nature provides us. This year it worked out that I got to treat myself and go looking there first.

Beautiful large crystals and a ton of gemstone balls in all sizes.

The shows were rather empty this year. There were obvious vacant spaces where before there had been wall to wall booths. The parking lots were not crowded and parking spaces were easy to find. I overheard at least two vendor's comments of not making booth fees the first day and still not making those fees by this third day of the show.
Once again my impression was "dyed everything"! Gaudy pinks, purples and other colors Mother Nature never intended. I wonder if they were after the fashion statement for gem materials. It's unfortunate as those dyed stones will fade; quickly in the sun and slowly in other conditions - but fade they will.

I had an enjoyable half hour in one Andean booth looking at knitted and woven articles from Peru - as well as South American minerals. Then I sat in the sun, had lunch and listened to the Altiplano flute music. I thoroughly enjoy the haunting pan pipe melodies.
What did I get myself?
I found two jet balls from Russia. I'd never run across jet balls before and they were so warm and light when I picked them up. I actually went back just before I left to buy them as I knew I'd kick myself if I didn't.

I don't usually give Chinese seed beads a second glance as the quality isn't quite up to other seed beads. These I did look at and bought more than I had originally planned on buying. They were a two-color transparent 10/0 that reminded me of the colors in some rough Baltic amber pieces I had at home. I was right and they pair with the amber beautifully. They will need to be culled as I use them, but at $1/4 grams, it's worth the extra labor. I'd recently told a beginning beader to buy twice what you think you'll need and that way you'll be adding to your stash bit by bit. This time I followed my own advice and brought home 16 grams. I'm sure I won't see this particular color in a seed bead again.

I've cut back my own plans for visiting the different shows. I really don't need anything at the moment and need to use up some of what I have. I'll be doing The Best Bead Show on Thursday and maybe the Rhodeway. Then next Monday I'll do the huge Holidome show. That should keep me for another year.