January 31, 2012

Tucson 2012 - day 1

It's great weather for Tucson Gem Show shopping. Lots of walking though as you can see . . . that's half way from the car.

I'm not going to say much as the 'ol body is tired and the mind is in sensory overload from hours of looking, talking, picking up, admiring and buying a few things.

Gee, Mom, all these beads just jumped into my bag and came home with me!

The new and different (to me) were these etched Czech picasso beads. What fun. . . rusty looking glass beads. They hit my Oh Wow point and will go into my iron wire stash.

Now, here I made a mistake. I didn't know that these were two-hole daggers until I got home. Hadn't seen two-hole daggers before. Wonder what one could do with daggers like these?

I think I'll put my feet up now and indulge in a glass of wine to unwind.

January 28, 2012

Under-dressed & Under-equiped

I took a break on Friday and we finally drove over to Whitewater Draw to watch the wintering Sandhill Cranes come in for their nooning. I only have a couple of poor photos taken with my little point-n-shoot camera. Here is a YouTube video of what we got to see.

I walked out of the house dressed for a rough outing; old jeans, flip-flops and a plain t-shirt. Oh boy, was I ever surprised to see that me and my little camera were way out classed; birdwatchers in LL Bean-type of clothing, windbreakers all knotted around the waist, cameras, binoculars and unidentified equipment slung around necks and backs.... I didn't know that there were such large binoculars on tripods just to go look at birds! And... cameras .... I swear one camera with a huge long lens was toting around this frail-looking, tiny, grandmotherly woman, instead of the other way around!

(Note: click on any photo to enlarge it)

We drove out of Tombstone, over to the next valley East. Dry scrub and even scrubbier grasslands was all the eye could see. It was hard to imagine that water birds like cranes would pick such a place to spend the winter.

Then you drive down a dusty, unpaved road and see a glint or two of swampy water ponds surrounded with marsh growth.

We sat in the car until we started to see groups of birds overhead. More and more birds looking like large bee swarms overhead and in the distance. All coming in for a little mid-day siesta.

It was a fascinating mid-day outing and the sounds of that many cranes was something to listen to.

The other highlight (oddity?) was watching an American Teal duck swimming around in a tight little circle for about a half an hour. He'd go one way for awhile, then move over and go the other direction. We're still wondering what the purpose of it was.

To finish off the day we kept on going south and made a trip into Naco, Mexico, (a quiet, sleepy, non-tourist village) for a bit of necessary shopping.

It's a lot of fun to look down a side street and see such beautiful examples of texture and color like this.

Now I'm rejuvenated and ready to get back to work and plan for the Tucson Gem show trips.

January 18, 2012

Native Stripes - three sections done

Three weeks into the Native Stripes String-along and you can begin to see what some of the ropes are going to look like. The above photo is my master rope. The patterns are building and the colors are as diverse as the participants.

Can't make up your mind as to what colors you want to use? Then do as some have done... start more than one rope. Anne has three very different colorways going, but equally as effective.

Mary Ann added her own twist to the third section and used some other small patterns to replace the bead soup section. Isn't it a bright, happy combination?

I set things up to allow the use of a solid color in place of the bead soup mix. Marty has put the idea to very good use. Her rope has the look of the traditional Balkan bead crochet work.

Barbara threw some terracotta colored beads in to the mix to tone down her bead soup mix. I can't wait to see where she ends up using them in the pattern sections.

As there is no real time limit on this String-Along, people are in all different stages with their pieces. I enjoy seeing what a group of people come up with for colors and how personal the exact same patterns become.

January 10, 2012

Native Stripes - Design & Colors

The Native Stripes String-Along has started off with the usual agonizing over colors. I specified a bead soup mix for the background, never thinking that it would cause that much thinking and swatching to get something pleasing. However, the results so far have been, "why didn't I think of that?"

I'm working on the third section and not having a peaceful time of it. So far I've discarded three patterns for various reasons. I'd better settle on something right quick as the participants are going to want their new section by Sunday. The fish are the latest, "nope won't work", pattern, so back to the drawing board one more time.

Sandi is using a mix like my Czech mix, but went for the more uniform Japanese seed beads.

Toni came up with a bead soup in only 2 colors that I really like. I think the final piece will have quite an elegant Folk Art look to it.

Terri has completed the first two sections. Here is another bead soup solution I wish I'd thought of. Take a whole tube of a background color and add just a cap full of each of the other colors. It reminds me of some of the nice old tweed fabrics with their flecks of color here and there.

Now I need to get back to the drawing board and settle on the third section so I can get it strung and crocheted before the weekend.

Urban Stripes ~ More Finished Work

Here are some more finished Urban Stripes necklaces. Some people needed a bit more time to complete their projects. I'm still amazed at all of the different looks coming from the exact same pattern sets.

If you want to try giving Urban Stripes your own vision, the pattern set was issued as an eBook on http://www.bead-patterns.com/ .

You can find it here.

Liz finished her rope off with a beautiful Basha bead as a focal. It compliments the rope nicely.

Vivianne wasn't satisfied with doing a rope in only one size. She had to do one in 11's as well as 8's. The blue version has a nice deep glow to it.

January 4, 2012

Buy her a cup of coffee

You need to check out Beaded Laughter. Sylvie has done a "Hey Girl" series that has had me in stitches. Each one has been better than the last one. She did my heart throb and beading passion and I love it. Magic happened, yes it did. If you get a chuckle out of her humor, look at her sidebar and go buy the woman a cup of coffee. She needs it to keep her going and get ready for the Best Bead Show in Tucson.

P.S. Sylvie also makes some awesome beads.... I have one of her treasures.
Sylvie Beads

January 1, 2012

New Year's Drive

We have been in the habit of taking a Sunday-type drive on New Year's Day. We got off on a back street in the border town of Naco, AZ and discovered Camp Naco. As many times as I have been in Naco, I had no idea that these adobe remains were there.
This military compound was constructed between 1919 and 1923 as part of the War Department’s Mexican Border Defense construction project. It was a plan to build a 1200- mile “fence” along the southern U.S. border. American soldiers were the primary component of this “fence,” and the construction project was to establish or to upgrade border military posts to protect the soldiers against the elements and to protect U.S. citizens and economic interests.

The plan for the camp in Naco, part of the Tenth Cavalry Patrol District, was to construct 35 adobe buildings. It's the only site of the nine western camps to be constructed of adobe and the only site in Arizona largely intact today. There are plans "in the works" to preserve and use the old facility for community purposes.

Now, this is today's border fence - an actual fence. Click on the photo to enlarge it and you can see the line of the fence marching across the valley floor. It's that dark line in the mid-ground.

It was a beautiful sunny, 70 degree day with little wind . . . a perfect day to be out 'n about enjoying the scenery.