Saturday, February 28, 2015


It's possible this was finished last weekend but I forgot about it.
 The focal is a three-eighths-inch copper elbow from my favourite big box hardware store and the beads in the necklace anticipate the verdigris of its old age. I wish they had narrower pipes because it would be a better fit.

Eve though the home projects list is a mile long (I have Big Plans for my kitchen which I will do myself) I have this sense of being at a loose end now that the bathroom doesn't leak (I know. I can hardly believe it myself) and that my curtains are functional (I love them every time I walk into my bedroom). So, y'know, there's always beading to be done but MAN I hate it when this happens:
What you're looking at is two repeats to go and I've run out of beads a scant three hours after being at the bead store this afternoon and let m tell you, if it looked the same outside your window as it does outside mine (hint: it's very, very white everywhere) you wouldn't be anticipating restocking any time soon.

Not that it's a total disaster or anything; it's not as though there aren't more beading projects on the stack.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Done. Sort Of

Two things: the one that I did (but not 100% completely) and the one that I had done, but not properly because of the leak, but now I'm hoping to not have to call the contractor about it EVER AGAIN.

Curtains: mostly done, and hung.
 The colour is vaguely correct-ish - perhaps they're slightly more maroon and less plum. The hooks in the left curtain are set in about a quarter of an inch higher than in the right one, so they hang marginally lower which you can't really see unless you look at the curtain rod (which is genius by the way: Ikea Kvartal).

Bigger though is that they're not hemmed.
 The length is perfect as is, and I have enough wiggle room to go as much as two inches shorter. Maybe.

Plan B (Plan A was obviously to have nice deep hems that fit the opening) was to add four or five inches to the bottom of a gorgeous fabric which I'd also use to make a couple of pillows to toss on the bed, except that the gorgeous fabric has not shown itself to me and I've really only one other fabric store to visit.

Plan C will be stripes made with varying widths of grosgrain ribbon and yes, that sounds tedious, doesn't it?

Oh and there's still sanding and painting where I took out the old hardware that supported this previous hideousness that I can't believe I lived with for so long because:
Yeah pretty incredible. Incredibly ugly.

I should have known that the relationship was doomed to failure when an ex claimed to like them.

I'm not even going to try to clean and donate them because this much ugliness belongs in the stinky (only in summer occasionally. And it's not the radioactive one with the underground fire) landfill across the road from my work.
The contractor boss-man came and installed the new grey one-piece curb in my shower (which I not-so-secretly love more than the two-piece black one) and as he was dismembering the old curb, discovered much to his displeasure that his worker bees didn't seal the crack between the two pieces, allowing water to seep under the horizontal surface, saturate the wood interior and trickle out onto the bathroom floor.

We're both hopeful that I will henceforth see water only in its allotted areas: the shower, the sink, the toilet, and not on the floor or running down the wall of the basement.

I live in hope.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Really I Did

I was all nose to the grindstone with the curtains. 

I completely stitched one panel and had most of the second panel pinned before bead last night.

I caught up on Serial while I fiddled with pleats to get them to fit the available space fairly accurately.

I stitched the pleats (first pass only) on both panels, and started stitching the pinchy bits on the first panel.

And then this happened around 10pm, well after any store that sells appropriate thread was well and truly closed.
 You can see the pleats that are completely stitched, and the pleats that aren't.
So I didn't get the curtains finished this weekend.


But I came close.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

In the Groove

I don't know what it is, sometimes I feel like I'm all over the place and when the end of the week or the month or the weekend comes, I feel I have nothing to show for it and worst of all, I can't find the fire that fuels me. 

I hate that.

In all fairness, the last few weeks or months I've been focused on lightweight (in terms of cognitive load) fun projects and while I like that I've done them, it's like drinking a large glass of water: satisfying at the time but half an hour later you remember you're still hungry.

It also doesn't help that I really need to sew the stupid bedroom curtains and while I can tolerate small household sewing projects like sofa pillows and challenging ones like upholstery, I have a special hatred of window treatments. I hate sewing Roman shades although I love the way they look and the thought of yards upon yards upon yards of curtain fabric (to be pinch pleated and lined) for a really hugely long window is almost nauseating.
Someone was pretty pleased I emptied the box with the rods though.

To avoid the sewing of the curtains I made a Something, and then I made another and joined them and that worked out well but I'm not too sure what it's for or why anyone would care. It goes in the pile of Strange Things I Have Started Which Show Promise at Some Vague Unspecified Time in the Far Distant Future But Maybe Sooner If I'm Blocked Or Inspired Or Both.
There's a necklace I've started at least four times and each of the two-inch samples is subtly different but I was certain I had fixed on the design so I started a full-length life-sized version.
But I hadn't. I did an inch or two of the next row and hated it and pulled it out and started again and thought I liked it better but then I got distracted by a small burn.
I kept promising myself I'd work on the curtains but just this one more thing, and then I had a bracelet.

I'm not actually sorry.

And then I started on the laying out of the fabric for measuring and pinning purposes and my studio isn't long enough and I pinned the hems and casings on the lining and took one half to the machine and then realized I had no white sewing thread.

Tomorrow I may work on the curtains, unless the cats completely trash it all: they are convinced that the fabric is there on the floor, neatly laid out so that they can roll in it, kick it, hide under it, wrestle with and in it, and probably hack a hairball on it.

Oh the joys of.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


I thought I was done with the evolution of this pendant but it turned out there was one more improvement that had to be made - which I didn't figure out right until the end. No worries; these things are never written in stone.
 The back is pretty too.
 I also finished another kumihimo rope. Love the focal bead so much I bought about four very similar beads last year at Bead and Button.
 I also made a sample for Tuesday's class.
 Close to twenty years ago I took a lampworking class which was so much fun that I went and bought a starter kit and made beads like there was no tomorrow. I wasn't comfortable spending hndred of dollars on a kiln, so all the beads were small beads (bigger beads will crack if they aren't cooled slowly and carefully in a kiln) but that was OK. A friend of a friend was a glass artist who made lampshades and other big pieces and I bought a kiln from him for about fifty dollars which much to my horror had only an on-off switch and a voltmeter on the front and came with terse instructions about stringer wilting at just the right temperature but I never bothered got around to calibrating it and eventually I lost interest (sort of) and stopped making beads.

Then about fifteen years ago a friend who was starting to do lampwork mentioned the name of an artist on eBay with whose work I promptly fell in love though it was horrendously more money than I'd ever have considered paying for beads (some of her bead sets went for as much as seven THOUSAND dollars, and I once saw a focal bead of hers sell for over four thousand), so I worshipped from afar, pined and whined and lusted.

The boyfriend at the time looked up this artist's website, saw bead sets for sale for a couple of hundred, rightly thought that would be a lovely birthday present but sensibly (since he had mostly not very good taste) decided to get me a gift certificate for her beads instead of trying to pick them out himself.

Sadly she'd stopped selling gift certificates and beads for two hundred and fifty dollars (I would too if people on eBay were foolish admiring enough to pay thousands for exactly the same effort) so the boyfriend decided to give me a gift certificate to buy artisan lampwork on eBay, but there were no such gift certificates at the time, so he gave me the money instead, stipulating what it was for.

That was the beginning of a bit of an obsession because not only did I spend the birthday money, but there were all these other beads, beads that kept appearing week after week after month after month and I found it hard to stop (even though I carefully and frugally was able to buy many more beads with that birthday money that I think either of us intended) and after a while I'd see beads and think I could make them and so I started up with the torch again although I still couldn't make the huge luscious beads I liked so much (no kiln, no oxygen/propane torch, just a cheap little Mapp gas torch) but I still made beads until I realized that my time would be better served supporting glass artists who were actually good at it while I focused on things I was better at, so the glass and supplies just took up space in a corner of my workbench for years and years and years.
 And then my son told me that a college friend of his was doing lampwork.
I have to say, I love it when I find a good home for something which has given me so much pleasure but which I've been waiting to close the door on.

Between beads that I've bought and beads that I've made that aren't hideous and wouldn't embarrass me to be used in jewellery, I'll never run out unless I live to about a hundred and seventy-five, and that's assuming they can do something about my hands which will be crippled long before then. And it's not as if I don't succumb (hard) every now and again in terms of acquisitions.

So my actual big plan this weekend was to finally make the curtains for which my bedroom has been begging since I moved into this house. The existing window treatments ("decor" has a much too positive connotation, "covering" isn't entirely accurate, "curtains" isn't exactly right either, nor "drapes", "sheers" or anything else I an think of) are hideous but somehow there's always something else more pressing, so they have remained.

With the bathroom renovation everything in my house was covered in terracotta tile dust which made these window thingies appear even more ghastly and since I've had the fabric and rods stacked against a studio wall since just after Thanksgiving, it seemed it was time.
 I put the carriers into the rod and joined two of the pieces together and considered how much of the third piece needs to be removed (fifteen inches) and sketched out in my mind the order in which I would make hems and casings and bought buckram (only it's not real buckram but it'll do) and two kinds of hooks and laid the fabric on the floor and measured it again and tidied it up after the cats hid in it and instead I sewed a zippered lunch sack because I'm tired of the stupid holey recycled grocery bags every weekday:
 And a faux fur pillow for the chair because I was reminded of a Jonathan Adler bench reminiscent of a Flokati rug I saw at a store in DC last May when I was there to see the Bolshoi and this seemed to be the next best thing that was immediately in my grasp and apparently today I'm all about the instant gratification so no, I don't have new bedroom curtains yet.
 Besides, there's no ways I can possibly install a one hundred and fifty inch traverse rod by myself so really, there's no hurry, is there?

Friday, February 13, 2015


So a couple of weeks ago I made a pendant which was sort of almost but not quite. Right. There were bits that I really liked, like the pairs of matte and shiny picots around the edge, and bits that I liked less, like the magatamas closer towards the centre, so I knew it needed work. 

Also it wasn't quite stable.

You can't really tell from the picture, but it doesn't lie flat because the beads aren't exactly the right size, and for once I'd like a project that doesn't rely quite so much on crazy thread tension.
 I also wanted to use triangle beads to frame the rivoli.

My next try used bigger large beads and although the picture completely (and unintentionally I might add) disguises the fact, it's a horrible wiggly mess which cannot lie evenly - so in that respect is worse than its predecessor.

I like the triangles though.
 The problem with a wide surround is that you do need a certain amount of thread tension to ensure that it doesn't just keel over and flop down which means layers of beads which in turn means that each bead in each layer of beads has to be just the right size so that they all fit and don't buckle and support each other.

I cut up the brown pendant (though I rather love the colours) and started again. I replaced the rondelles with o-ring beads because I realized that I've never ever seen that exact size of rondelles again which makes it problematic for a class project and its supplies.
 The green and yellow one has such a nasty nasty stance (it's all hunched up around itself) that I didn't even finish it but just cut the thread (and I'll cut up the pendant by the end of the weekend most likely) and started another one.
 The colours look way worse in the picture than in the flesh, but it holds together, the beads support each other, and the layers aren't impossible to stitch. I abandoned the large fire-polished beads altogether and opted for a more open edging which works better altogether. I also lost the double picots which is a bit of a shame but they needed the big beads to support them.

I confess that there were times I wasn't sure it could work at all.
 Speaking of flesh, some of the people at work persuaded me to go paint-balling with them last weekend and since I've never been and am unlikely to ever spontaneously and on my own up and decide to go, I agreed.

So it turns out that if you get a direct hit it bruises rather spectacularly and welts up pretty quickly too. Just for the record I should say that it's awkward trying to photograph your own inner thigh, as an explanation and apology for the awful picture. In real life it looks far less washed out, much angrier.

It was enough fun to have done once, but not enough for me to actively try to gather a group of people for another such expedition, though it's possible I could be persuaded to go again. Possible, not all that probable.
I spent the rest of last weekend painting the doors and drawers of the vanity, putting it back together and fashioning new cabinet hardware. Out of hardware. (Nuts and bolts and another faucet handle which I painted silver).

I'm still waiting on the tip-out hardware for what used to be a false drawer below the sink but which will soon be a completely unnecessary little pocket in a bathroom which is not regularly used by anyone besides me, until the twenty-fourth of this month, at which point I really hope the leak in my bathroom will finally be resolved.

So here's what I'm finding ironic.

What I really wanted in my bathroom was a floor that started at the door and continued unbroken all the way to the far wall, tipping just enough towards the drain,  with a glass shower surround and door that presented one continuous sweep of floor, practically unbroken.  It's a small bathroom, and apart from my personal aesthetic, I thought it would make it look a little bigger.

Every contractor I spoke to hummed and hawed and said how that was wrong and bad and they'd never heard of such a thing and it couldn't be done but if they could do it, it would cost me a LOT more and on and on, so I gave in and said ok fine, build a curb, but please make it as small and unobtrusive as possible and so that's what I signed.
The curb is so fat it reduces the size of my shower and oh look! That's where it leaks from and it's a complete mystery to everyone how on earth the water managed to make its way all the way to the bathroom side of the curb.

The last time the tile guy tried to fix it, the wood underneath was saturated. His fix prevented the water's egress to the basement, but the little puddle on the bathroom floor from the trickle down the side of the curb remains a problem.

And just so we're clear: work on my bathroom was completed mid-December and they're completely stymied by the leak mid-February.

I'm doing my (very limited) kitchen renovation all by myself.

As soon as the shower stops leaking.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Some Beading and More Craft Camp

I made a sample for tomorrow's class. 

I needed photos for the instructions.
I made another.

I wanted to show some simple colour patterning.
 Then I finished the clasp of the latest kumihimo necklace. I'm thrilled with the way the beads in the rope perfectly pick up the bead colours. I rarely get such a perfect match - generally the wrong colour predominates, or the colour doesn't show as well among the others in the rope, but I couldn't have wanted a better match with the interplay in this mix.
 Then I made another class sample showing another little variant. Love love love the picasso-finish mini-daggers. I really like it when the colour of the glass shows through, attracted though I am to all the lovely coated finishes.

I just like the look of actual glass I suppose.
 Last weekend's craft camp continued.

I did more glueing. Spray adhesive is fabulous for not having paper wave and wiggle, but it's impossible to not get nasty unwipeable unwashable stickiness over your whole self.
That's the landing of the stairs to the basement and may I just say that I think Command Strips are pure genius. If they weren't so expensive, a gajillion college students and other [young] adults in rental housing would be all over them for all their decorating needs. Or people looking to a not terribly distant future where they contemplate selling their house eventually. That sort of thing.

Besides which, I'm not great at hammering nails in straight.

Then I thought it might be fun to do some painting in the second bathroom.

[Don't ask.

My bathroom still isn't leak-proofed. Today's disaster? The tile guy cut a piece too short after it was too late to buy another, so he has to come back to my house.


Anyway, I painted the walls (um, beige) which used to be a rather unpleasant terracotta-adjacent colour which wasn't as luscious next to the rusty brown tiles as I'd anticipated though far better than the barely tutu pink before that) and then thought perhaps I should paint the vanity because it's old and shabby (but not in a shabby chic way which in my opinion is a contradiction in terms but what do I know) and it's stained and the paint is chipping and then I remembered that you can get these kits to make the false front under the sink into a flip-out tray so I just went nuts with the screwdriver and the knife and whatever I could find and took the whole thing apart.
I love the spray-on primer though.