December 30, 2011

Out with 2011 ~ In with 2012

100 years ago and more, when hunger was always just one failed potato crop away, many Irish New Year traditions involved food. In County Cork, crumbs were thrown out the windows and door to prove that no one inside was hungry. New Year's Day was always known as La na gCeapairi--the Day of the Buttered Bread. This was possibly a talisman against hunger, or to show that food was plentiful. Sandwiches of bread and butter were placed outside the door on this morning.

I just took this loaf out of the oven and from just the smell of it there probably won't be any left to butter and put outside the door on New Year's Day. The King Arthur Flour baking blog is my downfall... it always makes me hungry and often sends me to the kitchen to bake. For 34 years I've baked with their flours. King Arthur is located in Vermont, near enough for me to visit their store when I'm in NH.

Our New Year's eve celebration will be a quiet one. A good meal, a glass of wine or other spirits and probably fall asleep before the ball drops. We've been in the habit of taking a day trip, sort of the old fashioned Sunday drive, on New Year's Day. Haven't yet decided which direction we'll go this year. The weather promised to be fantastic so we might just pick a compass point and go.

I wish all of you

A Happy & Prosperous 2012

December 29, 2011

Native Stripes - Last Chance

There are just a few spots left in the Native Stripes String-Along.

Registration closes at midnight MST on Dec. 31st.

As one participant said, "I'm done with Christmas, and ready to start stringing." I think she was trying to hurry me up and get started. We're ready to go on New Year's Day, this is your last chance if you've been thinking about it and want to join in the fun with the mystery of new patterns once a week. We'll all end up with unique bead crocheted necklaces.

December 23, 2011

A Christmas Gift

If you bead crochet, here is a little something to put under your holiday tree. If Christmas trees are not your thing, then make them white on a black background and call it a winter wonderland rope.

May your days be Merry and Bright.

(click on the photo to enlarge, then save to your computer or print it out)

This young buck came wandering through the yard this evening along with two does and three young'uns. He was only 3 ft from my kitchen window and not a bit worried about me tapping on the window.

Have a Merry Ho Ho Ho, however you celebrate this holiday season.

December 14, 2011

Keeping the Chill Away

Tombstone has had a couple of days of chilly rain - 1" over 2 days and I've missed having the sun warm my studio during the day.

In between baking to warm me up, I quickly made a couple of last moment Christmas presents. These double wrap leather bracelets were a lot of fun to do. A button, C-Lon cord, a couple of beads/charms, leather cord, and ball chain from the hardware store. I think they are just funky enough to appeal to the younger generation. Now I can mail my boxes to NH and hope they get there before Santa does.

When I get chilled, I bake. I found this beautiful Blue Bird flour in a real flour sack and couldn't resist. It was such a happy bag of flour. The flour jar is clean and has all new flour in it, now I can whip up a batch of King Arthur's Blitz Bread. Gee, I'm not using their flour this time so I hope it comes out the same.

My one house plant is going to bloom, but not soon enough to dispel the gloom of the gray, overcast, rainy days. It didn't have the label, so I have no idea what color amaryllis it is. Whatever color it blooms, it will brighten the winter windowsill.

Now I need to go see how my bread is doing.

December 11, 2011

Native Stripes - Open Registration

Native Stripes, String-Along Registration is open:

Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011 at 12 noon MST or GMT -7


Midnight Dec. 31, 2011 or when all 40 spaces are filled

Once you pay for the String-Along, you will receive an email with the beginning information, and a link to join the FaceBook Group page. This could take up to 12 hours. Check your Spam folder and be patient before you email me that you didn't get the introductory materials.

December 10, 2011

Native Stripes - British colors

One of the members of the latest string-along lives in England. She commented that all of the color palettes from Central and South American textiles were so foreign to her. That made me stop and think.

When I think of England and colors, two things come to mind: Celtic blue war paint and Liberty of London fabrics. There was a time when I'd have given anything to be able to afford all of the Liberty prints I wanted. Could you call them native? To people who sew, they are native to England, and they are textiles.

ABOVE: 1933 Liberty print- great rich colors in darker hues.
Click color selection photos to see them larger.

Here's a 1970's Liberty print - Fresh, lighter color scheme

The only two keys that I'm using for this string-along are: native + textiles. My personal interpretation comes from childhood and Chilean textiles from the high Andes. Your interpretation will be different than mine. This project is about patterns and the use of lots of small patterns in a bead crochet rope lariat. It can be done in my exact colors, or interpreted in your colors.

I've used Big Huge Labs color generator to pull these color selections.

December 9, 2011

Native Stripes - Dec. 11 Registration

click here for more information

Watch this space for open registration for Native Stripes, String-Along.

Sunday December 11, 2011

Starting at

12 noon MST or GMT -7.00

We're going to start by considering colors. What colors do you

associate with Native Textiles?

December 4, 2011

Native Stripes - String~Along

Get Ready for January 1st 2012
This is the next String-Along that I've been promising. It will be a 60" lariat with optional peyote bands and fringe beads. It can be crocheted in either 8/0 or 11/0 seed beads. I will be using 8/0 Czech seed beads.

The form and shape will be like this crayon bright lariat that I made in 2006.

Click Here for a PDF informational sheet.

Native Stripes will draw inspiration from my Chilean childhood. The Altiplano region of Chile, Bolivia and Peru produces beautiful textiles in bright bold colors. These are knitted or woven on narrow backstrap looms. The narrow fabric bands can be filled with many interesting small decorative motifs. I have a notebook from the early 1960's of designs that I saw. I will try and translate some of them into the fabric of a 6-around bead crocheted rope. Many small patterns will be interspersed with bands of beadsoup or a background color. This will be a very eclectic, many small patterned rope

I know that many of you are in the middle of holiday beading and family things. However, I wanted to give everybody enough time to think about the project and possible color combinations before actually starting the project. You can do my colors, or research and chose your own colors. Native can mean anything from these Chilean textiles to Navajo blankets, or textiles from any country.

Sign-ups will open December 11th and close when all spaces are filled or on December 31st, whichever comes first. Once you register for the String-Along, you will receive an email with all the information on material requirements and choosing your colors. The first pattern section will go out Jan. 1st, via email.

November 30, 2011

Beading on the road

Driving the back roads, through small towns and visiting local thrift stores
turns up some real treasures. I found this man's beaded wallet in Oklahoma for $5. You can see that the beadwork was hand applied over a store-bought leather wallet - neatly, but not professionally. It has some wear at the fold, but is a beautiful example of someones beading labor.

The center design would make a great bracelet design.

I'm fortunate to be able to bead crochet in the car, however I didn't prepare enough to keep me busy the whole trip. I finished my 3rd Urban Stripes necklace. It's only a single length as I ran out of the gray background beads. I like the bead color, but I don't think I'll buy any more for quite awhile.

I looked all over the East for these #10 Bell Ends for ball chain and couldn't find them. I remembered seeing them at a hardware store here in AZ. I had to make a small detour when making the first pantry re-supply trip and sure enough, they were still there. I bought all of the nickle ones and a few of the brass ones. I'm going to use them as bead caps (with a short chain between) on the 3rd Urban Stripes necklace. They fit perfectly over a 6-around 8/0 rope and have an industrial look that I think will work perfectly.

I tested some colors in 8/0 seed beads for the Native Stripes String-Along. Doesn't it fit right in with the colors on the wallet? I have an older necklace done in the same Czech beads, size 11/0 and I'm now sure that the designs will work for either size. Now I can pull together the stuff to do the next one in January. Be forewarned, this will be a paid String-Along Workshop.

I finished the trip working on this bracelet that had been lurking in my traveling case for a year now. The daggers are difficult to hang onto while crocheting and I can't put up with more than a little bit at a time. It is going to be a heavy, but oh-so-supple feeling bracelet when done.... almost a decadent feeling piece.

Now I have to finish putting the road weary beads away and get enough chaos out on the work table to feel like getting back to beading. I have a to-do list that seems a mile long and am wondering how to fit it all into my 6 months here in Arizona.

November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving on the Road

The beads got packed into their new trailer, the NH house winterized and we hit the road a couple of days later than we had planned on. Dealing with 22" of snow on Halloween weekend didn't help the check list one bit. I actually had to go buy closed shoes to be able to survive. Flip-flops were just not the thing in that much snow.

I think this trip from NH to AZ was one of sunsets.

First evening on the road gave us this fantastic view of the setting sun.

I always like driving through Vermont and seeing the native wildlife.

We laid over in Memphis and spent time with some good friends, cats and parrots. We also took the time to unload and redistribute the loads between the trailer and the car. As this was the first trip with this vehicle combination, we had a few things to sort out.

Instead of interstates, we drove the older US Highways from Hot Springs, Arkansas west. I love looking at the brick downtown buildings in the smaller towns that we drive through. There is so much detail to see if you look up.

Thanksgiving in Wichita Falls, TX was an adventure as finding something open, still serving food, left us a choice of iHop or Denny's.

Finally back in Tombstone AZ, we stopped for just enough pantry supplies to get us through a day and unloaded essentials. The moon, Venus and remains of the sunset lit our way.

Now to put things away and clean up after the spiders that had moved in over the summer. Just how can an unoccupied house dirty itself in six month's time?

November 12, 2011

Try Something Different - SALE

I'm packing for Arizona and don't want to take these remaining kits with me. Between now and 8PM Eastern Time on Sunday 11/13/11, the price has been dropped to $35 each (regular $38) and shipping within the US is Free. My last trip to the Post Office is going to be Monday, then I'm heading West for the winter. This pictured kit is quite different as the variegated thread will show through the transparent beads, giving the bracelet another level of uniqueness. It is a one-of-a-kind kit. It will be a gift to one of the buyers, selected randomly.

Each purchase will also include a pattern card for this alternate design, "Climbing Scales"

The Details:
Email me with your choices (by number) and I'll let you know if they are still available. Pay me with PayPal by Sunday night and I'll mail the kit(s) First Class Mail on Monday. This offer ends at 8PM EST Sunday night.

Major Scales Bead Crochet technique with Magatamas

....was$38 per kit, now $35 per kit. ....

Intermediate to advanced bead crocheters.

1.- Peach transparent matte Maga w/ yellow matte 8/0 (1 kit)

2.- Peach transparent matte Maga w/ blue Iris 8/0 (1 kit)

3.- Pale green transparent matte Maga w/ green Iris matte 8/0 (1 kit)

4.- Pale green transparent matte Maga w/ cobalt matte 8/0 (1 kit)

5.- Pale green transparent matte Maga w/ gold flecked pink 8/0 (1 kit)

6.- Lime Iris matte Maga w/ gold flecked pink 8/0 (1 kit)

7.- SOLD-Bronze Maga w/ green Iris matte 8/0 (1 kit)

8.- Bronze Maga w/ Dk raspberry/brown Iris matte 8/0 (1 kit)

9.- Green Iris matte Maga w/ green Iris matte 8/0 (1 kit)

10.- Green Iris matte Maga w/ blue iris matte 8/0 (1 kit)

November 9, 2011


I need to get cracking......

I need to be packing......

These trays of stuff

need to get into these cases....

so I can leave for a warmer winter place.


Nikia puts the most tempting bits and pieces of vintage things on sale and this gem came in the mail today. It has my mind totally sidetracked. I had an idea for a bead embroidered, hinged cuff and I so want to start on it.

But if I start a project now, the car won't get packed and I'll end up having to wear snow boots instead of enjoying Arizona's sunshine.


November 6, 2011

Count Down to Arizona

It's ten days to estimated leave for Arizona time. You'd think that after 11 years of doing this I would have it all down to a science. When I put my huge schoolhouse slate board up in the hallway I finally wrote down a check list. Last year we were a couple hundred miles into the trip, wondering if we had forgotten to do ________? At least it wasn't turn off the iron as it's been a lot of years since I've ironed anything!

Now I have to sort and put away all of this.........

....and figure out how much of this I'll need.....

.... then make the beading stuff all fit into these canvas bags.
 we can pack it all into this for the trip West.

The life of a snowbird beader can get daunting at times, but I am not ready to give up my winter sun in Arizona just yet.

October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

...and what's your spooky jewelery going to be today?

I actually like working with the various orange colors. So, today I can show off my orange and black work and nobody will say anything.

October 30, 2011

Snowed In!

This is the view out my back door. That snow level is more than half way up the back storm door. Of course, a lot of it is what came off the roof in one very loud whooomp!

We still have nice colored fall foliage under the white stuff and really didn't get an Indian Summer. I'm in hopes that Indian Summer is lurking out there to give us a last taste of nice weather before Old Man Winter settles in permanently.

Unfortunately we guessed wrong and didn't believe the forecasts. They always seem to miss on the short side. Nahhh, we won't go buy a snow shovel, this probably won't amount to very much. Usually we are on the road for our winter in Arizona before we get more than a dusting of snow. Hadn't seen hats, gloves, winter boots in years and it was a scramble of senior memories to figure out if we still had any and if so, where did they get put?

Here's what some recorded inches in our neck of the woods:
... Hillsborough County, NH... Snowfall...
Peterborough 24.0" at 729 am 10/30
Hillsboro 21.5" at 102 am 10/30 - nearest to where I live
Bedford 20.8" at 557 am 10/30
Milford 20.0" at 1102 am 10/30
South Weare 19.5" at 730 am 10/30
Merrimack 19.0" at 750 am 10/30
Wilton 14.0" at 1210 am 10/30

There's a Honda Element under there
. . . somewhere.

October 29, 2011

Making Do when Winter arrives

My third Urban Stripes necklace is coming along quite nicely now. I am going to finally run out of the gray background beads so this one will not be a doubled-around-the-neck rope. However, It will go nicely with the other two. I did do some planning before I went and had my eyes (cataracts) fixed. I knew there would be a space of time before I could see clearly once again. I can crochet pretty much by feel and figured if I had enough bead crochet strung, I could at least keep my hands busy. If my hands aren't busy, then I get bored and you can only listen to so many books on tape.

Mother Nature threw us a surprise here in New Hampshire. One day it was a nice Fall day and the next morning Winter had arrived with cold and an inch or so of snow. They are saying we will get another 5" this weekend. This just a bit too early for an accumulation of the wintry white stuff. I'm ready to head for Arizona, but there is still too much to do before we can pack the car and go. November 15th, or thereabouts is the schedule for leaving.

The furnace is running and I'm thinking about baking something to warm up. I'm making do with a borrowed pair of glasses to be able to see the computer screen while my eyes heal and settle into their final vision. Funny thing is that back in the 70's I actually wore glasses that were almost as big as these are. Not a big fashion statement here! At one time that would have bugged the heck out of me, but somehow age tends to put function and comfort ahead of what one looks like.

Now I need to start cleaning up the studio, putting things away and organizing the beads for traveling. I'm starting to do some research for the New Year's String-Along. I know what shape the rope is going to take (60"+ long) and I think the theme will be Native Stripes. I have quite a collection of South American native textiles and am wondering if the geometric and animal figures will transfer to a bead crocheted rope. If I expand the theme to include Navajo rugs, then there is a nice choice of colors... from brights to muted monochromatic. I'll be on the look out as we travel west for inspirational photo opportunities.

October 21, 2011

Bead Room Clean Out

I'm only a month away from packing up the car and heading to Arizona for the winter. Over the summer I've been setting things aside in the studio that I know I won't use or have dribs and drabs leftover from projects. I also ended up with remains of kits that were made up for events this past summer.

In kits I have a few Cruise Ring kits (peyote technique), some Raised Spiral bead crochet kits (good for beginning crocheters) and about a dozen advanced Major Scales kits (Magatamas in bead crochet). Most are unique, one-of-a-kind color combinations.

Here is a photo of one of the bead groups that need a new home: a slice of a pool ball for a focal, antique French enameled number discs, Sea Urchin spine beads, Antique cutoffs from real ivory piano keys, unique Bisbee AZ cabochons from mines that haven't produced since the 50's or 60's. At half the wholesale value (or what I paid) there are some fantastic deals in the bead groups.

So here's the deal..... On kits, buy enough and you get 10% off of the listed price. On the bead groups the price is HALF, yes 50%, of the value listed on the photo. All shipping is a flat fee of $5 and the only payment I can take is through PayPal (they take credit cards if you don't have an account). What's not to like about a sale like this and I don't need to pack any of this up for the trek to Arizona.

Photos, prices and a kit list - All done with
email me with your list and I'll let you know if it's still for sale.