April 18, 2014

Cleanup Distraction

 I almost got this written this afternoon except my Boyfriend yelled that he could see smoke and a possible fire across the wash from the house.  Right now it's so dry and brush fires in Arizona can quickly burn out of control.  Stay tuned for an update.....

As I was cleaning up the studio work table to host a couple of visiting bead people, I threw all larger loose beads onto a tray.

I kept thinking, "what a nice combination."

The idea bulb went on...... I'd clean a bit, string a few beads from the tray, put a few beads away and string a few more beads.   

A messy work surface does say creativity, doesn't it?  Grab the crochet hook and see what it looks like as a single crocheted chain.

Not bad....

I'll unravel this first attempt as I need to figure out how to even out the chain tension.  Some areas bunch up into over large picots and others have too much cord showing between beads.  

I think it's a quick, fun way to use up odds and ends of beads and add some fun to an outfit.  

It's about 10 days to leaving for New Hampshire for the summer.  Please tell me the snow and mud season has left the East Coast.

Given what needs to be done before packing the car, I've put the moth sculpture away for 6 months.  I did see an oriental running stitch quilting technique that might look great on these wings.

Well.... the moth project is  now packed away for after Thanksgiving when I get back to Arizona.  For the moment all of the pieces and odd other bits are in one box waiting.

I unearthed another project that needs more research.  I was playing with the possibility of paper jewelry and put it aside when I noticed that the edges of the paper were badly fraying. I need to find a sealant for the paper that leaves it still feeling like paper and not stiff wood.  This took me back to my summer camp days. Did you ever make lanyards as a child?

I'll have an idea, try it, reject it and put the project tray aside for another while. The potato starch was interesting, but what a mess it made.  I would have been better off making potato soup with it.  

You sure can find a lot of possibilities waiting to happen when you deep clean a studio.  Let's see... there are 2 sliced up billiard balls, a box of rusty flea market keys, Arizona Artifacts waiting to be made into a unique pendant, A bead crochet large cuff bracelet waiting for more pieces of rope,  and tubes of seed beads everywhere.

March 1, 2014

Waiting for Rain in Arizona

You can smell the rain in the dry desert air.  The wind is gusting, making things rattle, squeak and moan outside.   It isn't too often that the forecast says 100% chance of rain around here.  Yet, there is still a possibility that it won't rain at my house but will rain a quarter mile down the road.

Tombstone's historic courthouse waiting for rain as it looks from my back porch this morning.  The clouds are rolling by quite fast and the wind is pushing the winter bare tree branches around.  I can see some of the birds flapping like crazy against the wind but not going much of anywhere.

It's going to be a good afternoon to turn the space heater on and work on some beadwork.  I have some light ecru pearl 8/0's out for a background.  Now I need 5 spring flower colors.  I have a matte green for leaves and a good yellow.  I need to root around for 4 more colors that makes you think of specific flowers.

Sometimes I think the hardest part of any project  is deciding on what colors to use

I guess you could say that March is coming in like a lion here in Southern Arizona.

February 12, 2014

Gem Shows Shutting down

This is this year's Gem Show treat for myself.... and it's not beads.
The parking lots are almost empty -- posted Motel prices are about half of what they were last week -- Big shrink wrapped pallets of things are sitting waiting for a truck. -- trucks are being loaded up .... it's time for Tucson to return to a semi-sleepy, Southwestern existence.

I stopped by the Pueblo show today while I was out and found a bargain.  I'd been admiring the Crinoid fossils since I saw the first huge panel of them 3 years ago.  At that point they were too big (5' tall) and out of my price range ($900 - $1,000).  This vendor was packing up and offered me half price, I countered and got it for 1/4 the marked price.  It's beautiful and quite detailed. Now to find a place in my little adobe to put it.  The colors will go quite well on a wall here.

February 6, 2014

Kino Gem Show

I  need to do a Blog post,   but.....

Oh look, Beads..........I'm easily distracted by new bead shapes and colors.

This will probably be my last show visit this Feb.  I spent a couple of hours at The Best Bead Show visiting with a lot of my beading friends.  It's a shame that we have about half an hour only once a year to catch up in person.

The nice thing about the Kino Show is that it is a small slice of what all of the different shows are like. It's a table (or two), Medium sized tents plus small tents or a couple of display tables of just about everything you'd see at all the other shows.
Today in Tucson was chilly, but not winter coat cold.  It was overcast with a 30% chance of rain.  Everyone was ready with their tarps in case it did start to rain.

It was a good day to poke around this smallish show as it wasn't too crowded.  You see, the Holidome opened today and I bet there were lines of cars several miles long waiting to get in there.  The Holidome is probably the biggest of all of the shows with over 740 booth spaces.

Today I looked, touched and saw what was new.  Shibori ribbon - beautiful, but not for me - too fragile and fussy.  Two-holed triangles, "O" beads -- Oh yes...  they need to hurry up with more production.

February 3, 2014

Beads, lots of Beads in Tucson

 Two Tucson shows in one day is almost a bit too much.  I had a list of vendors to see and didn't dawdle to look at every booth..... however, there were more than a few instances of, "look...BEADS!"

There's a couple of kilos of seed beads and other bead goodness in those bags to be unpacked.  Looking at what I did dump out almost makes me think those are not my beads.  Lots of gold and muted baroque colors and only one bright red in the bunch.

But . . . . first . ..  My new drawer unit is fixed, re-glued here and there and thoroughly cleaned.  I'm told that the glue is now set up enough to load those drawers.  So I need to do a bit of organizing before I have table space to spread out my new beads.  Already I've found one surprise as I was sure I had bought a dark sage green dagger and find it's a chocolate brown in the sunlight.

 Now these.... What was I thinking and what am I going to do with them?  Do I call them beads or buttons?  Do I file them with the buttons I use for clasps or do I look at them as a really different design element.  I do know they won't really work for bead crochet.

They felt so good and the matted colors were so calling to me that I bought two bunches of them.

How often do you buy on impulse with no clue as to how (or when) you'll use something?

It's feeling like a total PJ day - sorting old beads, fondling new beads and trying to figure out how to reorganize part of my AZ studio into new spaces.

February 2, 2014

It's live on Amazon

It's live - it's up on Amazon..... and they've discounted it.....

Republished Edition of Bead Crochet Ropes 

Also, you can now purchase this republished print version in England and the rest of Europe through Amazon.

If you've just discovered bead crochet, or wanted your own copy, here is your chance.  If you are one of the people who teach and have asked me for copies, you can wholesale order copies through Create Space, Amazon's POD subsidiary.

Now I'm off to a couple of Tucson's Gem & bead shows.  I need a pearilized 8/0 bead for the next String-Along - Garden Stripes - ready to go about Feb 15th.

January 30, 2014

Tucson Gem Show - 22nd St Fossils

Spent the nice warm afternoon with a good friend oggoling fossils and minerals at the Tucson 22nd Street Show.

So starts the several weeks of the biggest Gem and Mineral show in the world.
The show isn't quite as good as it was the first two years.  Favorite vendors were missing and there were lots of empty spaces.  For a show that said it didn't want bead vendors this year, it did have a lot of Chinese crystal beads.

My overall show impression = FEET.

It seemed as if almost every booth had fossilized feet.

and more feet.

January 29, 2014

Bead Crochet Ropes Republished

Republished edition of the original 2002 booklet.
will be available through Amazon's print-on-demand services in about 5 days. 
It will also be on Amazon Great Britain and Europe.

This is an exact reprint so the original tips and material information will not be current.  As the printing process is different, it's on different paper and had a long printing history, the price has been changed to $16.25.  The core information, clear how-to photos and patterns are still some of the best out there on the bead crochet technique. If you want to learn, this is how-to-do-it.  

So keep an eye on Amazon, but make sure it's the "republished edition"  

The price on the eBook has also been lowered if you like digital editions.

January 23, 2014

Creative Thrifting

 I had to re-set a few priorities today and the moth project goes down the list quite a ways.  Evicting the overlarge dust bunnies becomes first due to visiting Midwestern friends first of the week.  To that end we went grocery shopping to stock the pantry for guests.  Going down Highway 90 turned up a brand new thrift store.  Turns out it's a rather large, neat one somewhere between a junk store and an antique store.  Thrift stores are as hard to pass up as bead stores......
I picked up this rather nice vintage Lucite (maybe) necklace for $1 that I doubled on my wrist so I wouldn't lose it.  It's one of my favorite shades of red.  I guess I might not take it apart for the beads as I was offered better than $25 for my "wrap bracelet" while I was in Staples.  I guess it's how one sees a piece like this that makes it a specific piece of jewelry.  I now have a red wrap bracelet and later on it can be a red necklace.

I haven't taken this case of yarn tools apart yet.  I'm sure there are treasures in the pockets here and there. I'm saving the fun for after dinner.

What I can't show you yet is the 1960's storage unit I bought.  One section is wood flat files in that glorious, beautiful (ahem) late 60's orange - the other section is two-sided shelving.  I have to go back Saturday and pick it up.  I've been looking for more studio storage and I think this will fit the bill.

Now  have to get organized to go back to Phoenix. It would have been a lot easier if I'd have left my toothpaste there last weekend.... but no, I left my laptop there.  It's way too expensive to ship so a 7 hr round trip is in order tomorrow.

January 14, 2014

Moths, Books & Beading

Well, I have a real mess of fabrics, paper patterns, old shoe laces, wire, beads and this huge reference book of moth photos that are larger than life sized -- way larger.  However, I have no soft sculpted moths yet.  I've been bending up wire, trying to figure a stable way to embed 6 moth legs in the middle of a stuffed cloth body.  So far all of my moth bodies wobble and promptly fall over.  So back to the drawing board as I really want legs on my moths.

As I travel around, running errands, I've been crocheting.  No, I've not been doing the driving!  Here is my Sister's "essence of snake" lariat that needs only another couple of inches to be done.  It sure does have that look of snake.  In the background is a pile of bracelets waiting to be joined.  I love everything but the bracelet joining.  It's right up there with doing my IRS taxes and I can procrastinate on both things almost forever.

Bead Crochet Ropes is the first book that I published, 11 years ago.  It's been out of print for some time now with only an eBook version.  I've had so many requests from different people, bead stores and bead crochet teachers for a print copy.

My Graphic Artist daughter has changed software 3 times and now lives half a country away in Chicago.  We've worked out the conversions, tweaked layout and photos back into place and as soon as Amazon's Print-on-Demand agency quits fiddling about the correct ISBN #,  there will be a republished, ink on paper book once again.  I'm in hopes of seeing something in 10 days to 2 weeks.  Cross your fingers.  The paper won't be as nice and it's one of those instant print processes .... so the price will be a lot lower at $16.95.  I've also changed the eBook price on Bead-Patterns.com.

I've been told that the set of how-to photos are some of the best out there for learning (or reviewing) the technique.   This edition is an exact republication of the original book.  Many things have changed over the past 11 years, however I've left the original information exactly as it was originally printed.

If you have an original copy, you may want one of these to cut apart and make notes on the pages.

I have a treat coming up as I'm heading North to bead with long time beading friends for a day or two.  It will be nice to see everybody and even better to share creative solutions.  I hope they help and push me further along the Moth pathway.