Sunday, February 28, 2010

Stitches West - This Year It Was Playtime

I've been a vendor at the Stitches West Show for the last 2 years, but this year I decided I wasn't going to do that show.  Instead, I took a class at the show on Friday.  I've been felting for a couple of years now, but I had never taken a class.  I decided it was about time that I learn what I've been doing wrong as well as lots of new tips and tricks.  What a wonderful class it was!  Nuno felting with Sharon Costello... if you ever have an opportunity to learn from her, I highly recommend that you do so!

Here she is, assisting someone with the rolling process.

Here some of the students are looking at the result.

Rolling... rolling... rolling... holy smokes, I was so tired and sore Friday night that I could hardly get out of the chair after I plunked down in front of the TV.  This old back really let me know about it.  But I've been wearing my new scarf ever since I unrolled it and took it out of the towel at the end of the class.  I just love it!  I've had several requests to get pix of the scarf, so when I have a few minutes I'll give it a try.

The number of vendors at this show is overwhelming.  On Friday during lunch break, I went to see Carin Engen, who was doing some spinning and felting demos for Yarndogs.  Carin is the wonderful woman who got me involved in this whole felting journey.  Back in 2008, her booth was across the aisle from mine and I just couldn't stay out of it.  Carin is a felter, a teacher, and she dyes her own fibers.  So of course, I had to bring home some of her roving - back in 2008 AND on Friday.  Here are some of her dyed silk fibers.

And the wool, oh the wool...

I went back to the Stitches Marketplace today, and I was amazed at how many vendors were selling roving.  That wasn't the case last year and the year before.  I guess spinning and felting are becoming a lot more popular.  Well, I now have enough fiber to make a yurt!  I really splurged this year, but I figured hey - that show comes only once a year.  Now I must get busy in both the wet lab and the glass lab.  The Bead & Button Show is going to be here before you know it and I have to have some inventory!

I'll show you more pix of my new fiber stash over the coming week.  Hopefully I'll be able to spend time in the labs.  I got a jury duty notice a few weeks ago and I have to report on Thursday.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can get excused.

Now I'm going to head out to do some beading on my BJP vessel, so I'll leave you with a few pix that I took last week.  Here's the base of a tree trunk - I guess it decided to "take time to smell the roses"...

Later that day, I was up in San Francisco for a bit.  This is such a fun town!

And on that note, I wish you a happy and creative day!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another Lesson Learned, A New Month's Project

Being back in the world of software development has a down side.  I have so many artsy projects waiting for me that I don't know which way to turn when I have some free time.  I DO know that my January BJP vessel is on hold until I get a package in the mail.  Huh?  Well, I've learned another lesson - the hard way.  While working on the last part of this piece - the collar - I discovered that trying to do peyote stitch using cheap seed beads with irregular sizes and tiny holes was an exercise in futility.  I've been making the collar in sections, and I've now made two attempts at the red section.  Fahgettaboudit!  Not gonna happen.  Nope.  I should be getting a package in the next few days, and I'm hoping that I can finally put this piece "to bed" by the end of the weekend.

I've already designed February in my head, and I've started laying out the fibers for the vessel.  Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, February is always an interesting month.  We always get a warm spell, we always get rain, it's often overcast, and everything turns pink.  Pink blossoms are everywhere!  Lots of redbud trees, and bushes whose names escape me, along with tulip trees and other shades of pink flora.  Here's what's in my front yard right now.

And here are some other "pinks in the 'hood".

So I've decided that this month's vessel will be a reflection of February - one of my favorite months.  Here's the very first layer of fiber.  This vessel will be shaped a bit differently from the January piece, despite the fact that I'm using the same template.

But alas, high-tech is calling me.  While I'm working on accounting issues, YOU go have yourselves a happy and creative day!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Favorites

Ah yes, Friday is here already. How did THAT happen? I've been wanting to get out to my glass lab to make beads, but my other commitments have kept me from doing so. Tomorrow I'll be at a glass studio in San Mateo, CA so I'm sure I'll get in some torch time there. It's the montly meeting of our Society of Glass Beadmakers of Northern California, where we gather for chit chat, sharing of our beads, great demos, and great food.

But right now, I'm going to present you with this week's Friday Favorites. Today's color scheme is called "adobe arizona desert pop" - now there's a mouth full! It's a scheme I'm very familiar with, since I love nature as well as autumn. When I lived in Connecticut, autumn was my favorite season - the cool crisp air with warm sunshine beating down on my back, the smell of crunchy fallen leaves, hot apple cider - OK, enough with the reminiscing. Here are the colors, along with my favorite picks. I've included the names of the shops whose items I've listed, from left to right.  Enjoy your shopping trip!

1.  tattoo dreams
2.  OrganiCeramic

3.  golly bard
4.  Mary Williams Photography

5.  Luster
6.  Tocadora Leather

7.  Beads 4 You
8.  the Mincing Mockingbird

9.  Portland Fiber Gallery
10. ReClaim2Fame

Here are some items I've made that fit into today's scheme.  I think I'm going to have to revisit this color scheme out in my wet lab - I need more of that bright yellow/orange pop!

And that wraps up the first part of my Friday. Now go have a happy and creative day!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Progress on the Bead Journal Project

For those of you who won beads in my OWOH drawing, I put them into the mail yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon.  So you can look forward to getting your little prizes shortly!

Fortunately I didn't wait until today to ship them out.  My 86-year-old mom, Yvette, lives with us and last night she took a fall in her bedroom.  I was working on my BJP vessel while I was watching the men's figure skating short program out in the family room. I heard a crash and went running into mom's room - and there she was, sitting on the floor with a stunned look on her face.  She's gotten to the point where she doesn't lift her feet much when she walks and apparently she got tangled up in the rug on her floor.  Throw rugs and the elderly do not get along well, so the rug is now out of there.  Good thing she's a little pipsqueak - I was able to get behind her and lift her right up.  But I spent a good part of the morning tending to her - she was in a fair amount of pain.  Ice packs and Ibuprofen last night and this morning, and now she's feeling a lot better.  Scary!

Speaking of my BJP vessel, here are some pictures of the "state of things" at this point in time.  Here we are, heading rapidly toward March and I haven't even finished January yet.  Sigh...

I still have a lot of work to do on this piece.  I need to patch up a few "holes" that are obvious when you look at the last picture.  And then the collar... yes, this vessel will have a collar.  I've already started it, but it's going to take a bit of time.  

I sure have learned a lot while doing this piece.  The thing I dislike most about this one is how abruptly the organized stripes begin (see middle picture).  This is totally wrong, both from an aesthetic point of view and from a symbolic point of view.  And I couldn't really rip it out and start over - which is the second thing I learned.  I need to make knots every so often rather than use up most of my long length of beading thread before I make a knot.  Then it won't be such an issue to do any "frogging", as they say in the world of knit and crochet.  Another thing I learned is that it's much easier to bead when the felted base is thicker.  I felted this  vessel a lot more than some of my other vessels and I'm having a much easier time beading it.  But I also learned that I need to pay attention to the size of the holes in the seed beads that I buy.  The red ones have tiny holes, and I've managed to break two needles.  It will be interesting to see what other things I learn as this Bead Journal Project progresses.

Oh, and if you're wondering what I meant earlier about "from a symbolic point of view", I've decided that each month's vessel will be based on what and/or how I'm feeling about life in general that month.  In January, I was feeling very strongly about getting organized.  Before I got heavily involved in craft-related activities I was very organized.  Even my spice rack was in alphabetical order.  But since I've become more artistic, particularly with activities involving beads, my physical environment has become very chaotic.  Not just the beads, my entire environment!  I'm out of control... and I hate it!  So the beading on the vessel represents how my organized life has spiraled out of control and how I want to get things back in order so that I can enjoy my environment and be more productive creatively.  Wish me luck on THAT one... LOL!

Now I'm going to work on that collar while I watch the Vancouver events on the TV.  And YOU go have yourself a happy and creative day!

Monday, February 15, 2010

One World One Heart Drawing - Are YOU a Winner?

I just went out to to get the 3 random numbers for this year's One World One Heart event!  I've been trying to "roll out" the results one by one in this post, but the blog editor is giving me fits.  So I'm going to now post it all at once.  Drum roll.........

First number is........................... 259

And the winner of the single green leaf bead is..................

Congratulations, Carol!!! Carol is also a Magic Carpet ticket holder - number 255 - and you can visit her Creative Expressions blog for some wonderful art.

Second number is........................... 152

And the winner of the short strand of beads is..................

Congratulations, Becky!!!  You can visit Becky at her lovely blog Just A Moment In Time.

Third number is........................... 429

And the winner of the small set of leaf beads is..................

Congratulations, LisaC!!!  Check out Lisa's terrific art on her blog Random Veracity.

I want to thank all the ticket holders who participated as well as all of you who left comments here on my blog!  It was so much fun visiting you - well, as many of you as I could.  I just didn't have the time to go to 1,105 blogs - what an amazing number of people!!

And a great big huge thank you goes to Lisa Swifka for creating and organizing this event.  Lisa, you rock!

Now all of you go have yourselves a happy and creative day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Catching Up on Friday Favorites

I've been so busy - or out of town - that I've missed posting my Friday Favorites for the last 2 weeks. But I'm back, and here they are. If you're new here, it works like this. The little Google gizmo way down at the bottom of the page gives you a new color scheme every time you refresh or re-enter the page. I've decided to use it on Fridays to find Etsy items that catch my eye and match the first color scheme I encounter on Friday. I also check to see if I've made items that fit into that color scheme. Today's color scheme is called "autumn maple final". I'm not sure what the "final" part of that means, but here are the colors. And underneath that is the group of items that I just love! The shop names correspond to the pictures from left to right.  Have a happy shopping trip!

1.  MarcusBerknerJewelry
2.  GingaSquid

3.  nutmegdesigns
4.  AlchemicMuse

5.  Botanic2Ceramic
6.  shixie

7.  FreshMetal
8.  happylake

9.  AdornMeJewelry
10. BitsyKnits

Here are some items I've made that include colors in today's scheme.

1. Dawn Necklace, 2. Forest Vessel, 3. Pink Poppy Slider, 4. Bog Bead, 5. Garden Vessel, 6. Rose Bracelet

OK, it's lunch time - I'm outta here. Now, YOU go have a happy and creative day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Doing the Happy Dance!

In case you're wondering, my OWOH post is HERE.

OK, so sometimes the little things get me excited.  I spent a bit of time on my torch yesterday - for the first time in I can't remember how long.  I didn't make a lot of beads, just the beads that I wanted for my big felting project.  This morning when I fetched them out of the kiln, I was very pleased that my project can now move on to completion!  Although I can't let the cat out of the bag yet, I will give you a sneak preview of what I'll be putting on the project.  Here is one of the beads that came from yesterday's session.  Isn't he cute?

I'm hoping to finish up the project by the end of this evening so I can get it photographed tomorrow - time is running short!

In other project news, I'm still trucking along on January's BJP "page".  Trucking very slowly, I might add.  I took the project with me to LA, but each night when I got back to my hotel room I was just to whooped to look at little seed beads.  So now I'm way far behind and the year-long project is just beginning.  I was afraid this was going to happen - but that's OK, I'll get there.  I worked on it a tiny bit more last night.

Right now, though, I'm off to tech land while I knock out 3 or 4 loads of laundry.  My accounting project is calling me...

And it's time for YOU to go have a happy and creative day!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Back From LA!

If you're looking for my OWOH post, it's HERE.

I'm finally rested from my trip to LA.  I was supposed to return last Friday evening, but we were deep into the work session and neither of us wanted to stop.  So we worked until a bit after 9 pm, then again on Saturday.  I flew home late Saturday afternoon just in time to get off the plane, fetch my bag, and head straight to BAGI's Great Glass Auction.  Everyone was dressed to the nines and I was in my office "work duds".  Oh well, I had a great time anyhow.  I had donated one of my vessels to the auction - they put it into the silent auction - and I was really happy to hear that one of my students, Lisa, had the winning bid!  She and her husband sat at the same table as we did, and she caused a bit of excitement.  She got into a "bidding war" over a gorgeous piece made by the artist couple Melissa and Keith Bispo, who were also sitting at our table.  And she won it - Go Lisa!  To see the piece, you can check out the auction catalog HERE.  It's on page 8/20 when you use the arrows to page through the catalog (page 12 of the actual catalog on the left), item L-108.  And if you're curious about my vessel, use the arrows to page to 12/20 (page 20 of the actual catalog on the bottom left), item R-303.

I bid on several items in the silent auctions but was outbid big-time, so I wasn't able to take home any of those items.  However, Rich Small had made glass heart centerpieces for all the tables - yes, there was a banquet dinner during the live auction - and those were also available in their own silent auction.  I bid on two of them and came home with the heart that was on our table.  Yay for me!

After I got home from the auction, I went through my mail that had been delivered while I was in LA.  What a thing to be greeted by...

The last time I had jury duty I was picked for the jury, and the trial/deliberation went on for a month and a half.  Yikes - I just don't have the time for that right now!  But I guess I'll have to do my civic duty.  It was actually quite fascinating, being on a jury.  It was also very frustrating.  We spent a lot of time deliberating, and we came very close to having a hung jury.  But in the end we came to an agreement.  Given what I heard during the trial, I was sure that the defendant was guilty - but the prosecution didn't have enough evidence for us to return a guilty verdict for the greater of the two charges.  There were several times during the trial that the defendant sneered at us, and looked as if he was gloating.  I wanted to go rip that smirk right off his face...  ah well, that was awhile back and I need to just forget about it.  I did learn something very interesting, though.  We all wondered why the police report wasn't part of the evidence.  A few of the jurors assumed that it was because it would show something that the prosecution didn't want seen.  I told them that was crazy - if the prosecutor didn't want it seen, then the defendant's attorney would have put it into evidence.  It turns out that the police report isn't allowed into evidence because it is hearsay.  What WAS in evidence was the tape of the 911 call to the police.

Well, enough about trials and evidence and bad guys... today we were supposed to have a huge storm, with possible thunder showers (rare here in the San Francisco Bay Area).  When I went into the bedroom a bit earlier, I saw that Peanut was digging in - a great way to spend a rainy day, sleeping on dad's sweatshirt!

But now we have sunshine, so perhaps there won't be a storm after all.

"Did someone say sunshine?"

Now I'm going to head out to the glass lab to make some objects that will go into my next big felting project.  I have a deadline - the project must be done and photographed in the next three days.  I'm just about there, thank goodness!  Once it's photographed and submitted to the "proper authorities", I can give you a bit of a hint what it's all about.

So go have yourselves a happy and creative day!
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