Wednesday, November 28, 2012


It's not just myself that I want to decorate and adorn, I like playing-dress-up with my plain pendants too. I swear it's not that different from when I used to buy knitting patterns and sewing patterns for Barbie clothes, and then just make stuff up anyway.

[True story: When my daughter was born twenty-two years ago, my mother brought me a bag of Barbie clothes that I'd made back in the day so that I could give them to my daughter. As a young child she was not the type to treat her toys with care and respect, so I kept on waiting for the right time for her Barbies to be ready for some nice clothes, and I waited and waited and she grew out of Barbies, so I never gave her the clothes. I still have a bag of Barbie ball gowns, nurse uniforms, sundresses and the like somewhere under the stairs].

The first one was meant to have skinny spikes all around, but it wouldn't bend properly that way (but I have another plan, no fear!), so all it got was a pair of spikes.
I made a little slider like this one years ago, and every time I think vaguely of classes, I think I really ought to resurrect it because it's easy and fun, and then as the deadlines loom it flees my mind. I just submitted for February though May (and once again missed the boat on the slider), so perhaps sometime after that it'll make it to the roster.
 Best of all?
 Space for both of them on the pendant!
I love the colour scheme, which was pretty much imposed both by the spikes (I really had no idea what colour they would be in Real Life from their descriptions) and some seed beads which were in something ugly which did not deserve to live, so I cut it up and they were on my beading table and I was too lazy to figure out which tube they belonged to. We're sort of bronzy-green and pinky-reddish-brown, a veritable feast of sludge.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


The spike bandwagon, that is.
I've had these spikes for months, but until my local bead store started carrying them, I wasn't all that motivated to use them for a class since the deal is that the materials list should be available from the store.

And now it is.

I think this is not complete, though it could be. I have big[ish] plans for this sedate little drop.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I Still Want More

There's just no pleasing me. A four-day weekend of sloth (well, after a full day of extreme cooking at least), and it's still not enough. I want two months of no obligations. I have it on good authority (last time I was laid off I had about three blissful months. The not getting paid part put a bit of a damper on the whole thing though) that I wouldn't get bored.

Four days was nice though.

I made a little sample to test-drive the instructions for tomorrow's class.
 These little two-sided squares are fun and fairly obvious when you've done a few, but there's little exact repetition, so the instructions are rather long for such a small piece. I hope they're comprehensible.
I must have started these mittens five times, and what I should learn from this is that patterns just slow me down. The yarn is a delicious cashmere-blend and they're insanely warm, and probably big enough for a light pair of gloves underneath. Suitable for Arctic conditions just about, but with global warming, here in the somewhat southern parts of the Midwest they may be of limited use.

Pretty though.

You never know though. All that cold that didn't happen last winter? Could be saved up and dumped on us this winter. It could happen. And then these mittens will be supremely useful.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Eight Shades

Quite some time ago, I planned to make a necklace for the sample case at the bead store so that I wouldn't have to do without my necklace which I like to wear for the duration of the teaching term.

I made half the links, and my necklace is still in the case. I taught the second part of the class two Tuesdays ago, and I teach an offshoot of the design (the little square button which is a nice little component suitable for bracelet links, earrings, or in fact necklace links).

I finally finished the, um, sample necklace today.
 I haven't decided if I'll keep it or sell it, but it's the result of so many hours that I'll never get paid for my time and it's purple, lots of purples, at least eight (exactly eight, actually), so maybe I'll just keep it. Unless someone begs and offers me scads of cash. Perhaps not even then.

In my eagerness, I made an extra link.
So I added some doodads and now it's a pendant.

So far, the long weekend has been quite successful. I've managed to get in a decent amount of relaxing and self-indulgence, and the only downside is the thought that tomorrow is the last day. Seriously, I think I ought to be awarded another day for my pain and suffering (hello! Exploding pipes!) and my feeding of the masses (some of them. A few. Nine besides myself. Seven besides my immediate family. It's not none) but I don't suppose that's happening.

I wasn't holding my breath anyway.

I've enjoyed this lovely break, and anyway, there are two more days off in about a month, and I should be able to survive until then.

And bead more stuff too.

It's all good.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Day After

Although I called for a plumber last night, he didn't get here until mid-morning, and since Thanksgiving didn't really care about my waste water situation, I had to make like the Pilgrims and put a plastic basin in my sink, which I emptied into the toilet across the hallway as needed. It worked well enough, and I used my time well until Todd The Plumber arrived.

Forty-five minutes he told me.

This part may well have taken forty-five minutes, but I hadn't yet reached the stage of looking at my watch and wondering just how late dinner was going to be.
This part?

The part with the gooey black spray in my kitchen? That took a lot longer, in part because it happened three times.
Turns out that never having had a problem with the pipes and never having had to have them snaked in the eleven or twelve years I've been in this house has not in fact been a good thing. If my pipes had been snaked once or more in my years of home ownership, last night's pipe explosion may not have happened, and Todd most likely would have only had to have make with the black goo once only.
 On the plus side, even though I didn't believe it until I sat down at the table, a three-hour hole in the middle of the day didn't suck out more than I could handle (my son and his friend helped), but it was close. If I'd cooked the turkey the usual way (in one piece instead of cut up), we'd still be eating, and it wouldn't have been as juicy. I hesitate to say "tastty" since I find turkey rather dull.

But see? Dirty dishes which will still be there when I wake up in the morning and the dishwasher has been emptied.
 A fridge full of left-overs.
I was worried though.

When asked what my plans were for tomorrow, I said "nothing", but what that really means is "nothing that involves being somewhere at a certain time or doing something because I said I would, or doing anything at all on anything even vaguely resembling a schedule". I'm hoping to bead, knit, play with the cats, go for a walk, watch TV, that sort of thing - as and when the mood strikes.

And that's what I'm thankful for: that the holiday is over, that I fed family and friends, and that I don't have to do it again on this scale for at least another year, probably two.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


My menu is planned.

My ingredients (after an extra trip to the grocery store) are as complete as they will be.

I have a few items complete, and a few parts of a few items done too (the dessert my kids always request has four or five things to be made before it can be assembled. Two are done).

I was going to take pictures of some of the prettier things (cranberry sauce is always a lovely colour. My muhamarra is a delightfully intense orange - and tasty!) The chocolate caramel pecan pie is just brown, but I'm  pretty sure it's delicious. Greens and pignoli and roasted butternut cubes with crispy bacon slivers are also attractive.

I'm well-prepared for tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner for ten, or so I thought.

The thing is, you just can't be prepared for when the pipe that leads out of the garbage disposal explodes. There's just no anticipating that sort of disaster at ten o'clock the evening before.

Right now,  I'm not feeling the love. No pictures of food.
Not pretty, is it?

On the plus side, my second bathroom is just across the hall from the kitchen, although its sink is tiny.

The basement didn't get all that wet (drips down one wall only).

I'd just finished washing a sink-full of dishes.

I called a plumber and they say they will come tomorrow, though they can't say when.

Still, it's less than ideal.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Never Enough. But OK

No matter how much weekend there is, even long weekends aren't enough. I always run out of time rather than the other way around. Perhaps because like the rest of my peer group, I'm extraordinarily optimistic in terms of how long things take, and so there's always more to do than hours in the day. Or the weekend.

I did make another pendant in what was going to be a cacophony of colour, but is instead my usual instinctual blendy palette. Consider the raw materials, I suppose: it's not as though I buy masses of primary colours. I'm more of a seventeen shades of sludge kinda girl, so in retrospect, this pendant is in fact a riot of colour. Relatively speaking, that is.
 Another pair of earrings, monochromatic.
 A strange pendant because I just had to do something with those weird oval lentils.
 I should probably keep trying.

And then I thought I ought to be able to make an embellished right angle weave rope, and I thought I might add the embellishments in a spiralling pattern, and while this is not a speedy project, I do think it has potential, though my original idea wasn't like this at all.
 The herringbone chain was just pasta. You know, I was noodling around with needle and thread...
 And then I made another pair of earrings to see if those findings from the bead store would work.

I organized my piles of paper in the kitchen, the water-logged and food-smudged recipes I use repeatedly, by putting them in plastic sleeves in binders, and I do feel good about that, but I wish I'd done more.

I made the cranberry sauce - for anything else it's too soon, though I suppose I could have made the chocolate-caramel pecan pie and frozen it but I didn't.

I can't complain that I got nothing done, but still. I want more.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Time to Breathe. Bead. Breathe

I don't really have all that much to complain about really, but there's been some work-related stress that I think is in the process of being resolved (likely another couple of months to endure), and while the expected resolution is the right thing for me, and for the people with whom I work, and for the software we make (radiation oncology treatment planning), and possibly even for the eye of the storm, it probably won't feel like it for her, and it'll hurt and be life-altering and I'm distressed about that.

It's not my fault (even slightly), but at the same time I feel culpability. I don't like conflict,  I don't like belligerence, I don't like bad-tempered rudeness, I don't like it when people are divided into factions, and I like it even less when I'm not sitting on the sidelines, but an actor in the proceedings.

A friend asked if it was worth pursuing, and all I can say is that I've dealt with bullies, and there comes a point which for whatever reason feels like a watershed moment at which you have to stand your ground, because to turn the other cheek would start on an irreversible path to only weakness, obedience and malleability. There's a moment at which you have to realize that fighting fire with calm just burns you down to the ground.

Stress. It's what's for dinner.

Last Tuesday I taught the second part of a two-parter in which these were made (without the doodads at the bottom end).
 I have to say that I'm quite spoiled on my teaching Tuesdays in that there's a core group of regulars who are very comfortable with each other and even seem to enjoy each other. (I know I do). Even when the projects are involved and there are grumbles and mutterings, there's also laughter and the comfort of doing what we enjoy at the end of a day where we were doing what we must in order to do what we will.

Teaching every other Tuesday means up to eight new projects every four months, deadlines every four months, and another fast approaching, and another slot filled with a new pendant.
 I teach at a bead store, and the deal is that I don't require materials not available in the store, which means (among other things) I have to wait for them to start carrying rivolis in sizes other than twelve and fourteen millimetres   - and now I can start designing for eighteen millimetre rivolis.
I think I need one with multiple colours of the fire-polished beads.

Perhaps tomorrow.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Moving Along

Back in September I heard the results of a teaching proposal I'd submitted, but when I mentioned it to a lampworker I know, she said "But we haven't been told yet!" so I thought I'd better not spread it around if it was going to cause upset, because maybe they'd, I dunno, change their mind or something.

So far they haven't, so here it is:

I'm teaching five classes at Bead & Button next year.

They comprise a nice selection of a pendant (Kell), two chains (Anemone Spiral and Cellini Netting), a beaded bead (Dolce) and a necklace-with-focal (Trivoli).

I'm psyched, but there's always Stuff to do.

Deadlines. A forever thing, so it seems.
 Fun little medallion that works as a cuff bracelet,
 a pendant,
 or the focal of a necklace.
 Then I made earrings with some of the beads at hand, but they were hideous and not flat so I cut them up
 and made better earrings instead.
In two colour-ways.

I think they're kinda cute.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Back in the Swing

Yesterday I spun.
 I plied yarn I spun at SOAR, and spun fibre I carded at SOAR and was given as samples at SOAR. Looks paltry, but it's quite a few hours; not insignificant. And as long as it took to spin, it'll take longer to knit, whenever that may be.

Today I noodled with beads.
I built on rather small, rather plain beaded beads I'd made a few weeks ago, and came up with a couple of not entirely satisfactory variations.
 I might need to let them stew for a while.

Everyone is unimpressed, it seems.
 With that kind of disapproval, I settled down with a simple chain from a few weeks ago, and started altering the beads used, and this necklace was the result.
It's still a rather simple weave, but it's quite pleasing in the stitching, and will I think lend itself well to a number of variations.

A satisfying day.