Monday, April 30, 2012

Some Accomplishments

When the cat decided that this was very tasty and chewed off one of the little clusters, I lost interest in finishing this for a few weeks.
Mending just isn't my thing.

I'm glad I got over it.

I photographed it to show the stringing hole, which is just big enough for the chain I used, but barely.

 The advantage to having a stash, and to buying beading components when you like them, as opposed to when you have an actual use for them (not that I think you should avoid acquisition when there's a need. That's just counterproductive) is that sometimes they just hit the spot. Like the copper electroformed leaf.

Even though it's on the large side, it's quite delicate as it's just the veins of the leaf, so it's very um meshy.

Then I made a sample for Thursday's class to check my instructions and timing.
 I made it reversible.
It took me about fifty minutes, which is about right for a two-hour class. Some people might complete it in the allotted time even.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Week

This sewing thing. When you're not making tailored lined jackets, it goes quite quickly.
I made a top to go with the floral skirt from last week, which turns out to be quite a nice pattern. I'd like to make a dress like this too.

In the process of chronicling the construction of the ppink-centred flower from last week, another ensured.
Lentil beads seem to be cropping up all over the place lately, though the ones in ths flower have been in my stash for quite a few years. WOuldn't you know it though, these petal beads are few and far between (I searched online this morning and found two at a single store, one on clearance. I could find no others in stock anywhere, though my search was probably not exhaustive. I don't think there is such a thing as an exhaustive search, though I guess there are degrees of thoroughness).
I finished a sample for a future class (Cru, July 10th at Lady Bug Beads - come join us!) which I think may not be a sample (since I already have one), but might belong to someone. Me, for instance.

My last class before I leave for Europe is this coming Thursday, so I need to have the next set of samples complete before then, because I'd like to have absolutely nothing that keeps me awake at night on vacation.

I'm pretty excited because y'know, vacation, not at work, that sort of thing.

We're going places I never thought of going until they were strongly recommended (Krakow, Split, Dubrovnik), places I've always wanted to go (Prague, Budapest) and well, Geneva, because that's where my daughter's graduation happens.

Ironically, taken as I am with things bead-related, even though we will be in the country where many of the beads I use on a daily basis are made (Czech republic), I'm unlikely to get to a bead factory as it's not terribly high on (or even on) my travelling companions' list of Things They Would Most Like To Do In Prague.

And even though there are so many Hungarian beading blogs from which I draw inspiration, and even though I believe (I know very few words of Hungarian) that some of them are affiliated or associated in some way with bead stores in Budapest (the pictures of the inside of something that looks suspiciously like a bead store is my strongest clue here), it's unlikely that I'll get to a bead store in Budapest either, unless we happen upon one somewhere near something else we're doing anyway. Not that I plan to be unprepared, mind you.

I think I can actually live with that because truly, apart from the souvenir aspect, it's not as though there's this horrible shortage of beads within armslength from me right now as I type, or even within driving distance, so it's not a question of need at all.

Still, were it possible, between trips to the Sedlec ossuary and torture museum, I wouldn't exactly turn down the opportunity.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I wish there were more hours in the day.

Since my last blog post you'd think I'd have managed to turn out a whole lot more than a little flower, a necklace and a simple top (there's also a partially-completed top and some too-crumbly granola bars, but I suspect that's even less fascinating), but the truth is that there are things that keep one busy and happy, after which one has absolutely nothing to show for them besides ticket stubs.

David Sedaris stopped by on his biannual tour (which doesn't always pass through this locality), for which I am grateful, because those are two hours I consider well-spent, as opposed to killed. He gaily talks about his love of the grotesque which he shares with two of his siblings, but the truth is that his audience must also in some small measure share it too, perhaps not quite as directly as he does, but certainly in the nature of gawkers.

I've mentioned before that I grew up with Classical ballet, and I might even have said that my favourite of such ballets is Swan Lake and how sad it is that the opportunity to see it is so rare.

The ballet company performing it two nights ago is undoubtedly not the calibre of most of the companies that I'm fortunate enough to see with my annual subscription, but they did a credible job all the same.

Actually, I take that back after watching this video. I was so delighted to be seeing Swan Lake, any Swan Lake that I overlooked the way that when the men did anything in which both feet left the ground, there was both a palpable winding of springs followed by a collapse and disbelief that they'd landed without falling over after the flight, rather than a graceful, effortless and smooth change in elevation. Similarly the women were hesitant, sloppy and reserved in their movements, rather than dancing with confidence, every muscle acting in concert, every position complete and pure in its entirety. Odile dances in the video with such grace and attention to form and line that there are no awkward and less-than-beautiful positions as she moves from one beautiful arabesque to another.

The costumes and sets were very nice though.

I think I may need to take a trip somewhere to see a really good ballet company do Swan Lake because all this did is make me want more and better.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

On A Roll

I'd forgotten how useful this making clothes thing is.

Skirts are super-quick, even when you change them up, like by adding pockets. No, not patch pockets, more like the kind you have in pants, where it's a bit cut away from the side seams and you can't see the extents of the pockets from the outside.


With my recently realized total lack of ability to accurately (or even vaguely) determine the vintage of clothing when it's from one of my decades (I wore a sweater that I made in college a few weeks ago. It wasn't black, magenta and teal, and it didn't have shoulder pads and it wasn't hugely oversized with a neckline that exposes a shoulder and it didn't blouse at the bottom and in fact I don't think it was ever the height of fashion even when I made it, and my son said "That's sooo eighties, mom" and I honestly thought it was stylistically neutral, but clearly I know nothing), this fabric whose provenence I can only guess at may be yelling that it's not retro at all, but from the unfashionable part of one of those decades. I think it's stylistically neutral, but I'm clearly being punked by my brain because we all know where thinking that got me last time I had that thought.

Still, I'm two skirts richer and no dollars poorer than I was when I left work on Friday, and I didn't even have the worst time ever.

Naturally, the extended warm spell that took the place of spring has been replaced with lower than normal temperatures, and both are warm-weather skirts.

Of course they are.

Mundane Adornment

I have reached the point at which clothes shopping is an exercise in frustration because I am neither my daughter nor my mother and I want neither to look like mutton dressed as lamb nor as though I should be shopping for retirement communities. Not to mention the few extra pounds that I hadn't seen since pregnancy lo these many years ago, and which have rudely reappeared and are Not Kind to me in my endeavours to get my wardrobe, if not into the current decade then at least into the current century.

It's spring and while black skirts are very, very useful, they're also threatening to take over my lower half every single day (they comprise the majority of my skirts), and I want something else.

I won't wear the screaming neons that seem to be this season's Hot Thing, and I'm over navy (I really prefer black or brown and I'm replete there) and white really only looks good on a yacht or at a garden party, and neither is a regular part of my life and oh yes, my knees (not to mention my thighs) are better covered than otherwise; hence the above-mentioned frustration.

Back in the day I used to sew about ninety percent of my clothes. Dress pants, shirts, blazers as well as the simpler skirts and tee-shirts, I did it all.

I did it because I could, because I love (yes, still) fabric shopping, because it galled me to spend three times the real cost on something that wasn't made to fit this body, but I stopped when I came to the realization that it wasn't my most fun thing in the world to do and that in general, even though it takes longer, I'd rather knit or spin.

It was a while before I realized that the fabric shopping also had to stop, so I'm well-supplied for the odd times where I just have to sew something.

Like a skirt that isn't black or howling pink and covers my knees and doesn't make me feel like my grandmother.
The fabric was originally going to be a pair of drawstring pants, but that just never happened.

I have another length of fabric on the cutting board.

I'm probably not going to revert to making more clothes than I buy, and I probably won't make all the garments for this season that I plan to, but I think I might end up with another skirt or two, perhaps even a dress.

And though the projects on my beading to-do list are somewhat time-critical, I am not, as has been noted before, extraordinarily disciplined, so I took a side-trip here:
It's spring, isn't it?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Just Quiet

This evening was Greco.
For which I needed yet another sample. Love this colour of seed beads. It's a matte metallic greenish-golden-yellow and I do wish it wasn't so expensive.

I've also been making samples for the next batch of classes.

The first sample was just too monochromatic so you can't really tell what's going on.
I fully intended for a wildly contrasting sample after this.
Yeah, I'd say "wildly contrasting" was more wishful thinking than anything else because reality says not so much.

Still, I think there's enough contrast for at least a little interest.

Monday, April 9, 2012

One Less Worry

Until this time next year, the only thing I have to worry about in the meanwhile is death. I'm hoping not so soon as I have lots to do that'll keep me busy for a Very Long Time, but of course you never know.

For example, my ex-sister-in-law has metastatic lung cancer and can count her days in terms of months, and I just can't imagine being there. I'd hate to think that I was leaving too soon, though my father always said you should leave before the very end (though he was talking about parties), so there'd be something to look forward to for the next time. I guess he did that. Sadly I'm pretty sure that there is no next time; this one life is all we get.

Seriously, I'd like to live forever. I just want to know what happens. You know, with global warming, faster than light travel, genetic engineering, the Middle East, that sort of thing.

In the meanwhile, I'm wading through an ever-deepening pool of things I want to do. It's not a list exactly, because it really has no fixed order. There may be clusters of things, pockets of appealing warmth that then dissipate and flow.

First I made a necklace with my chunky beads.
Then I wondered if they'd work with all the beads one size smaller.

I think the petite version is pretty cute.

Then I wondered if it would work as five around instead of four.
Sorta-kinda but not really.

Five just don't fit nicely. In the picture above, you can see a coppery-looking bead in the middle, towards the floor. It's surrounded by seed beads, and above that is a faceted bead, and above that some seed beads surrounding another coppery bead which you can't see as it has receded towards the inside of the beaded bead.

Not so good.
You can see it's not perfectly round at the equator, but more elliptical. You can see the seed beads at the top of the picture with a gap in which the coppery bead is supposed to nestle, but it's disappeared into the centre of the earth.

So my experiments were fifty percent successful but my taxes are done.

I call that a productive weekend, though the reason I'm telling you about it today instead of yesterday is that I ran out of camera batteries so it's not as though absolutely everything is under control, much as I would like it to be.

Still, I'm not dead yet and taxes are done. Did I say that already?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Semi-Ignoring Inevitability

So I really did spend quite a few hours on the unpleasant inevitability of taxes, and then I took a break that will only end tomorrow because as soon as I click the "Publish Post" button I'm going to bed,

I had to make a whole bunch of them to be sure that I know what I'm doing, and now that the little half-tube of size eights is so depleted I might as well make more of these beads and just finish them off, and then at that point I should have enough for an actual necklace so it's not as though I really wasted time although I still haven't finished doing my taxes have I, but at least I have some beaded beads.

And it's all downhill on the second sock for which the pattern is coming along nicely.

Still. Taxes not complete and behaving all millstoney.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Death And

Yes, it's the last full weekend before taxes are due, and they will inevitably be due, and once again procrastination has won out and since I really will spend the entire weekend (starting Saturday. When I'm at work on Monday, the weekend starts on Friday, but when there's something irksome to do, Saturday is definitely when it starts) doing my taxes, but first, I play.

I learned in the making of this sweet little pendant that there's an easy way and a hard way, and the hard way is so called for a reason, and that reason is unpleasant.

Still, it did get finished and I've decided I prefer this more substantial star than the thinner ones I taught in Thursday's class, but since only one person was close to done by the time we packed up, I definitely taught the right version.
Then this little beaded bead.
It's fast and chunky and uses bigger seed beads not just for support or their large holes. The size eights really do take centre stage in their herringbone columns, and even though I did use size sixes for the metallic accents, I think that version two may use something else.

I have a cat standing on my shoulders. I think she wants something. I don't know what it is. I suspect she doesn't either, but that's ok too.

Monday, April 2, 2012

I Said I Would

This is the sock it was too dark to photograph before I left for work this morning, and which is knitted entirely back and forth without having to cut the yarn (except at the end) or grafting (though there is some hidden and some decorative three-needle binding off.
You can see the joins, but you can hardly feel them. The heel is my standard garter stitch short-row heel, and the toe is something I figured out on the fly, sort of (I had to rip out my first try). I'm quite pleased with it, and am planning on writing up a pattern Real Soon Now.

I also finished off another class sample.
The crystal rondelles are a sort of pale greyish glass washed with an iridescent sagey blue-green around the equator. Not blue, not green, not grey, but all three and delicious.

In the process, I discovered that some seed beads with which I had heretofore been singularly unimpressed are in fact gorgeous: one of the Toho hybrids, an opal green picasso (supposedly, though I can't see the picasso finish, which is generally a mottled, slightly stone-like effect).

Still: YUM.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


I'm getting shop-ready samples done for the next round of classes, though I did spend way too much time on something that has ended up as piles of wiggly thread in the trash and good-as-new beads back in their containers.

I guess I try to escape knuckling down, and sometimes it's a worthwhile foray into Somewhere Else, but sometimes it's just not.

On the plus side, I really like this two-colour version of the bronze and fuchsia one I made a couple of months ago. The bronze beads accent the shape which I felt was a little lost in the single-colour version, I also managed to figure out a little extra embellishment around the rivoli which I think finishes it off well.
I originally made a series of pendants, but I was never happy with any of the bail variations I came up with. I think it works much better as a necklace, and the chain also lends itself well to a matching bracelet or earrings using a single component.

I also finished the sock I was working on (but I don't have a picture). The toe took a bit of finagling because I was set on not working any part of the sock in the round, and I was hoping to avoid both grafting and three-needle bind-offs.

There's still no part that was worked in the round, nothing was grafted closed, but there's a three-needle bind-off right down the middle of the toe; a decorative chain that reaches from the sole to the top of the foot but doesn't add any bulk.

I'll have to take a picture in daylight tomorrow.