Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Yes But What's It FOR?

Sometimes I have (even if I do say so myself) absolutely brilliant ideas which beg and whine and pester me to be realised, and I'll give in, powerless, tweaking principles as I cut and restitch, and then when it's done or I'm tired of it (whichever comes first), I'm not quite so sure.

This was a fine way to combine these lovely raku lampwork barrel beads with my prized metallic and golden seed beads, most of which are two or three times the price of almost any other bead, except perhaps something black plain black or white, which certainly have their place, but aren't generally lust-inducing like these. The colours really work well together. 

My original plan was to gradually change colours in each marquise shape (well, what are they?), but because I needed them to curve, I decided it would be more of a distraction, and so used the lampwork beads as a boundary between colours. I alternated matte and shiny colours for the main beads used in each marquise, and paired them with larger beads in the opposite modality (shiny with matte and vice versa) for each section. I'm pretty happy with that.

I'm also pleased with the way they keep their shape quite well. If I hung something heavy, they'd distort somewhat, but I haven't, so they don't. That works too.

My original plan also included a smaller marquise shape as the loop of a toggle closure, but somehow that fell away, so I was left with a long chain of open loops. 

I think it can work as an adjustable lariat, and I think it has the right heft too: not so light it'll lie funny, and not so heavy it'll pull through and choke me. Or whoever is wearing it.

And that's the other unknown: whether to keep it or sell it.

Which brings me to a little pleasure.

The local bead store runs a "Bead Art" show in the spring in the fall, in which we can set up tables to sell beaded stuff. I participated a few times, but after the last time, when temperatures approached that of the surface of the sun, and there was an issue with my children flying unaccompanied to Florida to meet my brother who was late to the airport - suffice to say that this event became tainted for me.

When back in January I fell into the bliss of sloth and indolence via a fortuitous layoff, I decided that in the interest of the appearance of an effort to promote myself, I should once again participate in "Bead Art". Unfortunately, I was dropped from the mailing list, and so never signed up.

It's next Saturday and I don't have a booth.

Luckily, the local Bead Society does, and I have friends in the Bead Society who took pity on me, and agreed that if I worked a shift or two, I could bring beaded items to sell.

Yay and all that - I only wish I'd started building up inventory a few weeks ago, but still, I do get to go!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Us And Them

Really, I'm not one of those bloggers, the kind that fill their posts with endless pictures of indistinguishable flowers or unremarkable pets or unidentifiable birds or dull scenery, but because I'm rather challenged in the gardening department in terms of making things happen, I delight all the more at Stuff That Grows Pretty, and so I give you this:

Understand that my position as property owner has absolutely nothing to do with its loveliness whatsoever, I simply think it's pretty.

Lest you imagine I'm entirely useless, I did finish a necklace yesterday, which I'm wearing, um, testing today (I won't keep it unless I have to; anyway, I have More Beads. I suppose that's a bit redundant, as I always have More Beads, except when I run out, and then I run out and get More Beads. It doesn't happen often).
Today I had some success with the implementation of an idea I've been noodling with for ages, but the scale of the thing might not be as amenable to actual use as I'd hoped - at least not without some serious rethinking. Again.

At first I thought a few of them together (as above) would make a pretty bracelet, and I suppose they would, if your wrists were as thick as my upper arm, which isn't huge, given that I'm more or less as they say on dating sites "height-weight-proportionate", but I do work out, and I do have some nice muscle definition, though given the fact that I'm a girl I'm not hormonally equipped to develop major musculature, so it isn't that impressive compared to, say, the Governator or Brad Pitt or that really weird actor in Road Trip.

Still, it's too big for a bracelet for all except those at the larger end of the bell curve. Yes I know that bell curves are large in the middle, I did Statistics way back when last century; this is just short-hand for "all except those whose larger wrist size puts them at one end of the bell curve" and so I suppose I might as well have not bothered.

Its other deficit is that it's not ideal as a repeating motif in a necklace, since it doesn't do well around curves. It doesn't want to curve laterally; if you force it then it simply twists around inappropriately, which means that the centre front of a necklace will require some sort of special treatment, which I suppose isn't all that unreasonable, though it puts paid to my original idea (well, one of them) of a claspless necklace long enough to slip over the head, so that any section (and each is a different colour combination could be positioned in the front.

Guess I need to rethink it One More Time.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Jaded? Not So Much

I just couldn't resist these ginormous "new Jade" beads, which really don't need much besides these little beaded crackers, which I taught on Tuesday evening. They can't be a whole lot less than an inch in diameter, perhaps as little as three-quarters, and they're HEAVY.

Two women had signed up for the crackers class about a month ago after both taking another of my classes. Both are pretty good beaders, both are perfectly capable of following patterns, but both really seem to like the social aspect of taking classes, and both have taken quite a number of mine over the years. It's always a very pleasant couple of hours with them.

At the last minute, an almost-brand-new beader had signed up for the class, which concerned me a little, but luckily it wasn't too intensive for her - she did pretty well actually, and was keen to sign up for more.

And lookit what my son made me, yes, MADE me, for my birthday (tomorrow) and Mothers' Day:

Isn't it gorgeous? Cherry and maple, a lovely smooth, satin finish, perfect corners and joins and everything. I must confess that when he said he'd make me a table, I thought I'd use it in the TV room in the basement, but it's so pretty I want it upstairs in the living room so I can show it off!

When I turned <mumbledy> I decided that I'd never again work on my birthday, and so I don't. Occasionally I'll actually do something, something girly like a facial or a massage, or perhaps going to see an art exhibit, but usually I just relish the opportunity to putter and chill and have time to myself.

I have nothing planned for tomorrow, as I was hoping to recapture the delight of my three months of sloth and indolence, but my newly-graduated high-schooler has other plans: she's determined to take me out for brunch. I think she even wants to pay - yes, she's truly growing up!

Monday, May 19, 2008

I Got The Goods

Seriously, I'm not joking!

Aren't these delicious? They're all slated to be made into necklaces approximating this one:

I can't wait to get started.

On Sunday I went to what I guess I'd call a second-tier art show, though it claims that it's been called the "#1 Art Show in the Midwest". Perhaps, but whoever was doing the calling doesn't get out all that much apparently.

It's smaller than the ones I go to semi-regularly, so for example there was a single weaver with jackets, lots of them, not bad, but a bit stuck in the eighties or nineties style-wise, unfortunately. A bit dated. 

There was a single seed-beader, with very nice stuff, though nothing stunningly outstandingly unique. 

There was quite a bit of jewellery, most OK, a couple rather nice, and one in particular was absolutely ghastly, the sort of thing I remember seeing in London back in the eighties: very big, very flashy, huge rocks, no style at all. The shame of it is that the various stones, pearls and materials were quite lovely, but the designs were, in a word, hideous.

All criticism aside, I'm thinking of applying for next year. No, I'm not selling myself short, but I am thinking of testing the waters, as I've never applied to be in a juried show before, and since the booth and application fees aren't horrendous, it might just be worth a try. I have until the beginning of next year to get four fabulous slides and a decent inventory together, and if I can do that, I probably should. And if it goes well, by which I mean "not badly", by which I mean "at least one person buys something", I can aim my sights higher.

Then again, I'm the queen of pie in the sky, and so it may well not happen, but still, it's fun to contemplate (and not scary, since it's not a top-notch art show). I suppose I'll have to start referring to my beading as "My Art", ugh.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What's Important

I don't do product placement, at least not for money, which is not to say that I wouldn't necessarily, depending on the product, just that I've never been asked. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Well that's not exactly true, I was once a bride (no, it wasn't necessarily a Good Thing, yes, I'm happily single), and as it turns out I've been a bridesmaid exactly as many times as I've been a bride, though I've been flower girl a gazillion times.

Three or four. The dresses were much better, because little girls can be got up in ridiculous get-ups, much like pregnant women, and still look adorable.

If you've been here before, you might have had an inkling that while I may not necessarily have the most sensitive and refined palate in the entire world, I do enjoy a tasty cup of coffee from time to time. Every morning preferably as it turns out, and if the decaf is good, later on in the day too.

On the first day, when I got the mediocre cup of Americano from the espresso machine (for which pleasure I'd have had to pay a buck a shot, should I have been willing to deal with something not even slightly automatic first thing in the morning, not to mention trek down to the second floor where I might have learned about turning off the alarm sooner than I did, alhough probably in the same ear-piercing, guilty, helpless, panic-stricken way) I asked the guys making the cup what kind of coffee they used. They looked at me as though I was a little light in the cranial department and said "Espresso roast" which told me all I needed to know, much like the one time I went on a cruise, and upon being told a story about piracy off the coast of Africa and asking which country, was given the DUH look while being told very firmly again "AFRICA!!!"

My first actual early morning, Greg had made the coffee and lo, it was very, very bad. Folgers, made at what seemed like economy strength, which is to say, Rather Weak indeed.

I don't do much caffeine, usually a cup a day, and only occasionally more than that, so I really want it to be good, since it's so rationed. I want a delicious cup of coffee, with real sugar, just a touch, not Splenda, and real cream, not powdered petroleum products. So sue me, I did mention that my palate isn't the most refined in the universe, as I do like my coffee flavour rounded out with a bit of smooth and a bit of sweet.

This was not available at the new workplace, not any of it, except sugar, which only the people on the first floor get in their kitchen. They're obviously pretty damn special, as they also get the only decent women's restroom, but hey, the exercise is good for me, right?

So I did what anyone else would do: I bitched about it to my friends online, all 671 of them, and someone said a magic word:
I Googled and read and talked about it and made coffee at home (French press), but of course that meant that I was bringing in cold coffee to be reheated two days out of three. It's not awful, but it's not ideal, so I bought the Aeropress and OHMIGOD I love it.

It makes a fine cup of coffee. The slowest thing about it is heating up the water (2 minutes 44 seconds in the Very Slow Microwave at work), it's very convenient, and it's unbelievably easy to clean. If I were the camping type, I'd take it camping with me, it's that low-tech: basically a wide-bore syringe with a filter.

In other news, I'm writing here, now, instead of submitting teaching proposals to Bead Fest or Bead Expo or something. Here's something that's in the pipeline (if only because I have no pictures of my cream cardigan, which I finished so long ago I've worn it TWICE.