October 31, 2009

Careful what you wish for

Back in September I said,
" Now I wish I could replace my antique oak table with one of those retro red and chrome 50's kitchen table sets. That would look awesome in this kitchen."

I was semi-joking when I mentioned the table because because I'd only ever seen one red one for sale and it cost as much as half my beads. 1930's through 1950's anything in red seems to be popular and very expensive.
This was in the Salvation Army store in Concord NH today.
I hesitated.
I hemmed & hawed,
walked away and went back
to look again.
The table came home with me.
It really wanted to live in my yellow kitchen.
Now I need help. I need to find 4 to 6 chairs to go under it.

October 30, 2009

New Orleans & 4 years of Blogs

4 years ago I started this Blog.
29,800 visitors read what I had to say in that time.
Thank you all for showing an interest in what I'm doing.

It's been a journey with lots of changes. Many good and a few not so good.

A little over 4 years ago I visited New Orleans and later created a freeform bracelet after the hurricane. This winter I'm going back to New Orleans. Although the city won't be the same, I know the time spent with Bev at No Easy Beads will be just as enjoyable.

A couple of photos of my very early beadwork

Summer Studio (to be)

Paint instead of wallpaper? Should be easy, I thought. Well, not when some idiot house manufacturer applied flocked vinyl wall paper right onto the wallboard. I tried wetting it. I tried one of those thingies that makes holes and then wetting it. Nothing, nada, it still pulled a lot of the underlying paper with it. So I resigned myself to a lot of work to get what I wanted, rolled up my sleeves and ....R i i i i p ... pulled it all off dry.

That meant picking at the edges of the wallboard paper to remove any that was still lose. Then I put a coat of "Gardz" sealer on the wall. That stuff sort of glues everything down and waterproofs the wall. Next came a skim coat of joint compound to even up the edges of the ripped paper. Sand all of that, touch up any places I missed and sand again. Next came a coat of "Bin" primer on the high gloss lower portion. I wanted the decorative molding gone, but the thought of repairing what would be left made me quickly change my mind.

Finally I could paint the studio walls. Two coats of matte gray paint and it looks pretty decent. I can still see the flaws here and there, but I don't think anyone else will notice them. Today will see the other half painted and then I can do the window and door trim
My arms and shoulders are tired. It sure has put me back into shape quicker than any gym workouts!
I have marks all over the floor trying to see where studio furniture will fit and work the best. Being visual, I need to see it, stand where my desk will go and look around. I still am wondering just how I'll get all of my creative junk into this room.
Now we're up against a 4 week deadline and it's looking like we'll move stuff in, winterize the house and head West for the winter. Taking the Southern route this year with a stop over in New Orleans. What fun as we'll have the best tour guide possible there.

October 22, 2009

Designing Woes

Finally - a successful test piece with larger sized beads!

It started with this, an idea for more pattern space on one side of a flat caterpillar bracelet. Eight months of trials and a new graphing model later I had what I wanted. Using 15's or Delicas(TM) on one side and 11's on the other side gave me what I wanted.

However, I have a lot of people who prefer to bead crochet with a base of 8/0 beads. After my workshop in Fall River I went searching for beads that had the same size relationship. From what I knew it seemed that 10/0 Delicas(TM) would work. But I didn't have any in any color in that size.

So I ordered some. Needed 5 colors to test things out - ordered 20 colors. Who can resist things like metallic bronze or gold flashed ruby? Six Plano containers of 8/0 seed beads - not enough .... I added 100 grams of an 8/0 mix to that order also.

The beads came in and I started to put them away in flip-top containers. I used the last 4 that I had. Eight years ago I bought 1,500 flip-tops and I guess I used them all. At the time it seemed like an endless supply of bead containers. A friend pointed out that, as an addiction, it was less than one a day!

So, I ordered 100 more containers. All this to just test out a bead crocheted sample of what I thought would work.
What should have been an evening's job took a month to complete. Good thing I'm not on a deadline with this project. I have the proof that what I thought would happen, does ... a couple more crocheted samples and I need to think about pulling an e-book together with the technique and designs.
Upshot of the whole thing is that I now know that I have more than 1,500 tubes of seed beads from sizes 24/0 through 6/0. Let's not count the accent bead and gemstone stock.

A walk in the Woods

Yesterday was warmer and the sun was out. The hard frosts have done the bugs in and cut down the undergrowth. There is still a lot of Fall leaf color and I took half an hour to walk in my woods and kick the ankle deep leaves.
I'm going to enjoy the changing seasons in this very small patch of old growth forest.

October 21, 2009

School slate

Progress on the house - of sorts!

I've had this old Wilton school house slate blackboard forever. The only place to put it was in the hall. As the ice-box goes on that yellow wall I'm thinking grocery lists. My Granddaughter loves to draw on it and has finally learned to make lines around my lists and only draw in the empty spaces.

Just the trim left to paint in kitchen and hall.

Sink in the dining room? Well it's somewhat of a step in the right direction. I've had this sink for over 20 years and it's been outside of a shed in the woods most of that time. All summer it's been outside on the stand, upside down in the sun to take the bow and twist out of it.

Hey, it cleaned up better than I thought with just a couple of chips.

That dining room wall paper is the next thing to go away. I've been procrastinating as it's going to take a lot of work to get the walls paintable. It's vinal and was put directly on the wallboard. When it comes off it pulls the backing paper with it in splotches. I'm going to have to plaster skim coat most of the wall.

October 15, 2009

Still working on House

Kitchen is coming together, but I'm getting tired of the 3 coats of white semi-gloss it takes to cover the old dark faux wood paneling. With the days getting shorter I can see the colors are working they way I wanted them to. The lower cabinets that my friend built are going to be great. The best thing is that they are designed for the way we live and cook. After all, who else has over 100 tin pie plates and a collection of cast iron bake ware?
Replacement windows have a much larger frame than the old wood ones. I was going to do the trim in white, but decided that was just way to big a square block of white. Besides, the total depth in this house is very shallow and it just wouldn't work. So I went and bought a light gray trim paint.
However, now when the sun goes down I'm finding that I can't tell the difference between the light gray trim color and the white primer. I come in the next day and find all sorts of holidays in what I thought was perfectly painted gray trim!

Yea! ...we may have a working shower by the weekend.
So, the house is moving along, but very slowly. I've come to the realization that it isn't going to get done before snow flies & time to go to AZ.
Now it's triage and plan the minimum to get done so we can move stuff in, shut it up and hit the road West. This year we're going to treat ourselves and take a southern route. New Orleans is looking very good as a stop over point.

Bead Buying Binge!

I can relate to Sig Wynne-Evans blog post, What Have I Done? I think every beader goes on a bead buying binge from time to time. It seems to be as catching as the flu right now. I've heard that more than one bead maven has done the same thing recently.

Caravan Beads in Portland Maine is one of my favorite resources and I went there to get a few size 10/0 Delicas to try out for an experiment. I really needed only about 5 opaque colors .... and then I discovered that they had added 1/2 packs to their wholesale quantities. Hmmmm, thinks I ... Instead of 100 grams, I can order 50 grams of a color and my money will go farther. When the box came in yesterday I realized that 20 colors was a whole lot more than double the original 5 needed colors. Matte gunmetal, matte red AB, 4 gold lusters, and a couple of metallic bronzes seemed to have crept into my order. Instead of a few trial tubes, I now have to get another Plano box for what is the start of another bead size collection!

What started all of this is a new series of patterns I'm developing for bead crochet. These samples were done in a combination of Delicas, 15's and 11/0's. I want to go up in bead sizes and use 8's instead of 11's for the base. To do that I need a bead that is the same smaller size difference to the 8's as the 15's & Delicas are to the 11/0's.
Make sense?
Wait and let's see if it works.
No Easy Beads has said she'll give it a try it for me too.

I usually don't use Delicas for bead crochet as they don't move as well as the Czech beads. However, in this instance they are the right size difference and make a very crisp pattern on one side. Sometimes you just need to use a specific bead to get a special effect.

That's the reason I bought too many beads, but it's really just a convenient excuse as you can never have too many beads.

if you haven't read Sig's blog, it's quite funny and her
unique perspective on things often gives me a big chuckle.

October 3, 2009

Guess where I've been?

With these cars in the parking lot, it just has to be the Fall New Hampshire Bead Society Retreat...... The Barbara C Harris Center in Greenfield is a beautiful place to hold a bead retreat. As it's only 7 miles from my house, I didn't stay over, but day tripped.

We gathered, beaded, ate, yakked, ate, and beaded some more.
For me it's a much needed step outside of the normal routine, a chance to recharge creative juices and keep in touch with a delightful (& sometimes zany) group of women.

Why is it that I can sit at my work table in the quiet studio and string in mistakes - not once, but three times? This raised double "V" pattern looks like it will be as awesome as I imagined, but I've still got something off kilter. After trying to fix it twice, it's still not right. As a matter of fact, it's so off at this point that I'm not sure I can fix it short of starting all over.

Then I can sit in the midst of a group of beaders, all of whom are talking non-stop, and string 2 very complicated, experimental patterns with nary a hitch. Is it saying that I work better in chaos?

This is a flat caterpillar variation that I'm going to be teaching next weekend. It gives the bead crocheter much more design space on one side and isn't any larger than a standard 6-around, 11/0 flat caterpillar. Some time after the workshop, I'll post at least one of these at Bead Patterns.

We had great bead vendors at the Retreat. This bead strand found it's way into my stash. It's recycled old vinyl records made into what I would call sequins or heshi. The colors are great and as a strand it feels quite nice.
Like my Granddaughter would say, "they're way cool!"

Life is good when you can spend two days at a bead retreat in a beautiful setting and do nothing more strenuous than bead, eat and not have to clean up.