Monday, January 16, 2012

No snow, but a holiday

Today is MLKjr day, and there is no school, the college is closed, we are all being lazy here. A front is going to move through in a bit and it will bring with it lots of strong winds, so we have battened down all the loose stuff outside and hope that it doesn't bring a dust storm. There were a lot of wildfires all around us this past year. Thousands of acres burned, fences, houses, livestock gone. That coupled with the severe drought we have been in, makes the perfect environment for the dust to come in full force with any front, from any direction, today it happens to be from the North.

This is a picture from a friend taken from the air in November, one of our memorable days recently. I can't describe the way it looks from the ground, I haven't been able to take a picture that really shows what it looks like. My mother has a photo from when she was a child, back in the Panhandle of Texas. The photo of course is in black and white, so it is very dramatic, the front of the weather pattern is accentuated by a very tall very ominous cloud of dust that is literally black. She said that she remembered them being very dark, almost black. Here it looks like a very dark reddish brown, and it is kind of scary.

So I am finishing up a pendant (which now that I look at it in the picture, I see some real problems that I missed), that has been just waiting around for me to have a few minutes to work on, and maybe finish the necklace that goes with it.  The Gee's Bend is still waiting...

 Later on today, after we have had lunch and maybe read a bit, I am going to tackle the workroom. It has been long in coming, and I am a messy person when I work on anything...

I will not post a picture of the rest of the room, it is just way too messy... but will try to get it back into shape while I have a quiet day.
messy worktable
messy shelves
 OK, it is really messy, and I don't apologize about it, I am just really a mess. When I start working with beads, It is if I am in the Twilight Zone and I lose all time and space, and I really don't mind that. Sometimes I have to set the alarm to go get my son or to do some other task. Sometimes a friend will call to remind me! Yes, it is that bad!  When I work on metal, it is worse. On the desk there is a bunch of little pieces that I am working on, they are links in a bracelet and matching necklace that are just a mess until you get them put together, and I just thought about it,.. I could put them together as I work and it wouldn't be so sloppy... but you know? I kind of like to be able to put components together and move them around and see which one I like better as the focal point, So I probably won't change the way I work, at least not anytime soon!
Back when it was a nursery
This room used to be the nursery... well, before that it was my husband's office. He whined a lot when I moved out all the furniture and his collectables and deemed it the nursery. He really whined a lot, but he loved every minute of it. He would bring his family and friends in to see the way it was progressing, just as he would show off my ever growing tummy and say..."see? This is what I did! "... haha, he really loved finally being a Dad.  When our little bundle of joy arrived, he was even more proud, he would take him everywhere, and for the next 6 years, the two of them were pretty much inseparable.  I joked that the only reason that my husband took our son anywhere was because the little one was a "Babe Magnet". My husband didn't argue! Girls used to flock to see him and want to coo over him and touch his little dimpled hands and dimpled cheeks. What a kid. My husband capitalized on this at every chance as well. He really enjoyed the girls being around and giving the attention. He and I were well passed the jealousy thing and I never minded that he got a lot of attention!

I really miss that. My son really misses that. We are kind of adrift now, and I am not sure we will ever find a calm port, but I think that time heals, and someday... who knows.

Enough sadness for the day. Time to cook lunch and tackle the "room".

You know, I had plans of when the kids were older they would move into the bigger room and I would turn the nursery back into an office.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Life, and all that comes with it

I started my Gee's Bend bracelet and didn't get very far. My sister called and then my son came in frozen and it was suppertime and then... movie time. Well, I didn't get back to it, instead I started something that I can do mindlessly while I am on the phone or 'watching' a movie...another project for my class, I think that it is easy enough for a beginner, 6/0 seed bead with 11/0 trim and varied glass beads for decoration... The glass bead is part of the clasp.  I like doing this kind of beadwork. I sit by the pool and watch my son and his friends play and make bracelets one after another. This necklace is 22 inches without the clasp. It is kind of rough, but I was holding the phone with one shoulder.

Usually I do three or four different necklaces of one style that I am going to teach, one with the beads that the class will use, one piece with smaller beads that will show a more delicate look, and then one with something totally different like triangles, just to show you can use the same pattern as something different. The first is usually just a quick project that I think about and just do, Sometimes I actually sit down and sketch out whatever it is that I am going to teach, but really, I usually just do whatever pops into my mind, then sketch it out and label it. Kind of backwards I suppose, but really this is how I work.  I don't like to feel constrained to one design, if I don't like what I am working on (unless it is something specifically asked for) I will just change in midstream and do what feels or looks right. Not many times have I changed what I am working on after it is finished.

Well the snow is all melted (except the snowmen and a few drifts  and in the back of my truck) the official count was 10 inches, but it may have been a bit more at our house, it is hard to measure when it comes down the way it did. I'm hoping for another snow day, but doubt it will come anytime soon. Think we already got our share, plus,  this winter. This is selfish of me I know, I like having my son home, and I like the opportunity to bead or paint if I want to. The idea of not going anywhere is really nice, but then life catches up and you have to emerge from the den and get on with worldly duties.

The Gee's Bend will wait another day, because I really want to make it exactly the way it was designed, not how I might change it... and I will have to sit down and look at the instructions and diagram of "blocks". It looks like fun, and while I don't use tile beads often, these are really pretty. I prefer to work in 11/0 and 15/0 seeds and 11/0 triangles. I love the look of the triangles in  flat ribbons of peyote stitch. I don't use them to weave, but I think they would look really cool probably. I am really stingy with all the triangles that I get and haven't tried yet.  I am stingy because we don't have a good bead outlet near where I live and have to buy when I go to Dallas or order on line, which I prefer buying while I can see the beads... like fabric, I want to fondle it before I buy it :)

Monday, January 09, 2012


Snow day today!!! Yipee!!! Wooohoooooo!!!  We had a front move into the area last night and brought the most beautiful big flakes our way!!!  It hasn't let up at all today, and we have about 6 inches so far! I suppose my overwhelming joy is baffling to some, but you see, I live in the desert Southwest so this white stuff isn't all that normal for us... especially since we had a white Christmas, something that isn't very common here and happens every 10-20 years.
Sooo, I have stew on the stove and hot chocolate for the 9 year old that got to come home early from school ( I know that is baffling as well, we don't have school normally when it snows) and I am about to start on a new bead project as I am just finishing up some of the pillowtops for my "Tooth Fairy" pillows. I won't do any stitching or beadwork on them today, and I think the paint is pretty much done and I am itching to do a new project anyway!!!

I bought a Gee's Bend Cuff bracelet kit at the Beadfest in Arlington, Tx in October and haven't had the time to sit down and start on it yet. I started to work on it the last of November when i went to Alpine, Tx for the Artwalk ( I always take a project or three to work on when I travel), but decided to put it away until I was snowed in or something and could do the project all at once. Well we had wonderful snow on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but I was a little busy with my daughter and grandson visiting and my son and bestest friend here, and I didn't want to be really selfish and hide away working on beads (well, part of me wanted to)... 

I wasn't expecting to have another chance to be shut in the house for a while, but the schools have cancelled extracurricular activities this evening, the colleges have cancelled evening classes, a lot of businesses are shutting down (ha, another baffling idea for anyone who lives where there is snow), so we are officially snowed in! 

So here goes, this is going to be fun!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Bead Soup Blog Party

This is a link to the Bead Soup Blog Party.
What a neat idea... you send the few required items (beads and findings) and receive similar items, then you  photograph the items and then make something out of them and photograph that and share on your blog. What could be more fun? getting some beads in the mail and you can create something special!! 

<a href=""><img src=""  alt="Bead Soup Blog Party" width="150" height="254" /></a>

Creating Interest

Today is the first time I have really allowed anyone to look at me as what I do and think, I mean that I am opening up what normally would be only available to friends. I am writing a blog for public view for the very first time. All blogs before this were only for myself or for dear friends, and sometimes some of the general friends that I have. There have been blogs on what I do and what I make and how I feel and how I am pinning and how lovelorn I am... 

This isn't going to be one of those that I ramble on and on with the subject of my feelings unless my feelings are related to my artwork. Yes, I consider myself an artist, whether you will is another story. Lately I have found that not only is art in the eye of the beholder, I have found that being an artist is really in the eye of the community, the artist community that is. Whether you are accepted or not is quite the crapshoot. Some people are willing to accept and some are condescending and unwilling to allow one be free with their expressions, and then there are those that I don't see as being artists... beauty is in the eye...

So, I have painted since I was a kid, loved it, and wasn't very good at it, but still had fun with it. I don't paint much anymore, but still use paints with my fabric art. Oils, acrylics, watercolors, it doesn't matter to me what medium I work with, it all feels the same to me... sometimes though there is that overwhelming urge to get out the oils, just because they smell so wonderful and make you have creative thoughts just by the smell alone. 

The past few years have brought a fascination with beads my way, the making of jewelry kind of came about with the need for a necklace to match an outfit. I had a dinner to go to and had some beads that were of no use really other than being leftovers. They were the right color so I strung them with some seed beads added in a braided manner and called it a necklace. I got a lot of really nice compliments on it, and even was told that I should make jewelry and sell it. Imagine my surprise! Something that I literally threw together and people really liked it. That is when it started I suppose, that I really thought maybe I could do something other than sew. 

Don't get me wrong, I love to sew, and I have made over 100 quilts and sold many of them. I love to make clothes, especially little girls clothing. I missed out on having  a bunch of kids ( I have one girl and one boy) and always wanted to make little frilly dresses. So I sew. From baby booties to intricate quilts, and just about everything in between... I love to sew. But this bead fascination has always run around in the back of my mind, through my work in (or rather on) quilts. 

I learned to bead from my grandmother. She was a powerhouse when it came to anything creative. She sewed, she quilted, she crocheted, she knit, she beaded, she did just about everything creative. I was always in awe at the pieces that she made, not just any old thrown together item, they were all works of art. Her stitches always even and measured and her choice of patterns and colors were always impeccable. My grandmother's work is truly beautiful even today, never out of date, always classic... that is what I want for my work. Sometimes I fall short on that... 

Admitting that sometimes you do work that is dated, or fad is kind of hard. There have been some pieces that I cringe over when I see them or think of them. Some are products of the '80s which sometimes we all wish we could forget like the hairdos and the parachute pants... ugh, but then there are the really nice pieces that I am proud of like the old door panel that I salvaged and painted, that turned out really nice and sits on my fireplace still today. OK, some of the stuffed bunnies and dolls are a bit out of fashion, but really they are testaments to  the love of crafts and sewing that I have.

All in all, making things that you are proud of and stand the test of time is what it is about, which brings me to jewelry.  Making jewelry is really a release of creativity for me. The timeless pieces one can make kind of make me giddy. learning to make my own jump rings so I would have rings in the right color and size, well, brought me to metal smiting... What a wonderful release of energy, both creative and physical. Tapping with a hammer is very stress relieving! There is some primal satisfaction when you make something out of metal, some deep held need is met. Useful objects, silly art objects, all have this connection with our long fascination with the plying of ore. Man has made it an artform, but it has roots in need... I guess that is why it seems to fulfill me so much!

Learning cold connections and soldering has been fun and a challenge. Smashed, burnt, sliced appendages withstanding! First Aid kits are abundant in the house now, and there is a fresh supply of safety glasses and earplugs always kept handy. The use of hammers and torches has led to another passion- collecting tools. I always thought my father was odd, having a multitude of hammers that I thought did the same thing... OK, so I knew that a good upholstery hammer was necessary but after that, weren't they all the same? Au contraire, there are hammers for every job thinkable. If you want to flatten or shape, or harden or rivet... there is a hammer for that. 

The same theory for hammers goes with saws, punches, pliers, tweezers, and the list goes on... Needless to say, there is a full workshop now. But that is amazing and wonderful in itself. That there are specialized tools that make what you are doing so much easier, and they are available now to the general public. Some of these tools I never saw before I started taking classes and a few I saw in jewelers shops when I was allowed back to the workroom for a glimpse of what was being created...I love to look at new tools and old ones that are adapted to new needs...What is most wonderful about having a full workroom is that I feel like there is nothing that I can't do! Everything is possible and that all I need to start is to just start.

  I am going to post some of my work in the weeks to come, and I hope that if you are interested, you will follow along. There will be a little of all that I do, so maybe something will catch your eye... if not, just ask, I might have something hidden away that you will find interesting. Welcome to my world!