Thursday, June 30, 2011

Spring challenge...late

Spring in Ohio can either be a real bust or extremely pleasant. This year, Spring in Ohio has been record rainfall with lots of tornadoes and violent thunderstorms thrown in along with temperatures doing the roller coaster from weeks in the 90s to downward spirals in the 50s. And some of this all in one 7 day period. So really, we haven't had too much of a Spring here, though we did manage to get our tomato and cucumber plants in the ground. Poor things had to be covered so many times from the frost & watered for the withering heat. So for me Spring just slide by without too much fanfare. I think that is why I didn't get my ArtBeads challenge done in the actual Springtime. But here it is. I hope you like my approach to the challenge. Here is a quote from Duchess from Artbeads:

What’s Old is New Again!’ is our new blogging challenge. For this theme we would like you to seek inspiration from the past by incorporating old, vintage or antique items into your designs and combine them with modern elements such as Swarovski crystals, Glass, Resin, etc.

What's Old is New Again! When I was 13 long long ago in Los Angeles, my Father asked all of us what special present we would like to have as he'd come into some money & wanted to get all us children our heart's desire. In the 60s, there were only several things a kid really wanted bad...roller skates or a bike. All my sisters and brother wanted a brand new bike...then it was my turn. What did I want so bad that I could scream...not a bike. I had an old hand me down bike that still worked even though my brother would try to booby trap it so the chain would fall off making me fall, or loosen the screws on the handle bars so they too would fall off. Nope, what I wanted was a big transistor radio so I could sit on the porch in the late Spring evening picking up rock and roll songs to tap my feet too. Living in LA during the 60s was a magical time for music. There were the Beach Boys with their surf music, the Beatles singing melodic songs, and then there was my favorite, the Rolling Stones. I wanted to listen to it all on a radio that was better than the little 6 transistor that I got the previous Christmas and my brother buried the earplugs someplace so I could only listen to it with a pillow over it at night as my Mother just didn't get the new music. Oh she liked the Everly Brothers and Johnny Cash, even Elvis was sometimes listen to in our house, but she never would let that British (or beepbop music as she called it) be played in our house. But eventually, she too was taken in with the new sounds, but I wanted to hear what I wanted to listen to when I wanted to listen. So my Dad bought everyone a new Huffy bike, and I got an Emerson radio that plugged into the wall & had batteries (for outside listening). I locked the ear plugs in my jewelry box so my brother couldn't destroy these. So for me that radio was everything. It opened my senses as I dialed one station to the next. Late at night, I'd turn into mystery theater and listen to the radio shows. I loved that radio. Do I still have it? No, while we were moving from LA to Ohio, we had an accident and had to leave some of the boxes of our belongings along the side of the road because there was no room in our damaged car for two adults, five kids, and one bird. I didn't realize it until we were in Ohio that one of those lost boxes had been mine. There was my radio and along with it, there were the address of all my junior high school friends. All was long lost.

So when Duchess gave me the challenge to take something old and make it new, I thought of my old radio and all the joy it gave me. I'm sure I've mentioned to my followers that my husband likes to refurbish old radios. He buys the junk and then through hard work makes them new again. I begged him for one of the old Emerson table tops that looked like the one I'd lost. After a couple hours of cleaning and waxing, I had the exterior of the radio looking almost new. I found a Raku face bead that I had bought many years ago at a show & to me it looked like a wise old man taking me back through the years to rediscover the music I'd loved. I used an assortment of seed beads along with these beautiful 4mm firepolish red bronze and hematite to cage in the face. Then I glued this down over the speaker. Along the top of the radio, I decided to use the same assortment of seed beads to decorate the top, but I chose these lovely 18 mm glass cabochons in a milky chocolate brown. I loved the colors and the grill on this radio, so I left that portion of the radio in its original plastic loveliness.

I was enchanted with all the memories from this project, but how do I wear a transistor radio on my arm? It is nice & will be great to take outside or to the beach to listen to music on but I needed something else as I also got this great copper coin bead with a vintage bathing beauty on it. I thought to myself what a great companion piece for my radio it would be to use it as an enticement to wear to the beach (or in my case to the pool) as we truly have few beaches here in Central land locked Ohio. I used the same seed bead assortment along with those delicious fire polish. I found in my stash some old sea shells from a project (Fantasy Swim) I'd done back in 2005 for Bead International. I also used some vintage German crystals and a few pewter fish to complete the bracelet.

They worked perfect with the bathing beauty coin bead. This bead is two sided, so I had to sacrifice the image on the other side to turn this into a cuff bracelet that I could wear one one arm while I carry my radio, beach towel, snacks and of course my bag of beads in the other. So though I made these two pieces for the Spring challenge, I think it will do me well now that Summer has come and the pools call to me. Maybe you'll see me out there on a chaise lounge soaking in the sunshine as I dial my radio from one vintage "Oldies" station to another searching for Rolling Stone tunes.

Have a Fabulous Summer!

Disclosure...As a reviewer of products at, I receive the seed beads,cooper coin bead, and fire polish beads above free of charge. I have been asked to review these products and give my honest opinion of the products...positive or negative. I am not being compensated by for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received and reviewed.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Master Class in Milwaukee

Myself and Carol

Two weeks ago today, I started out on my first day of the bead weaving Master Class at Bead and Button with Carol Wilcox Wells. Can I say it was an amazing three days with a true bead Master? Well, indeed, I can. Carol's class was about "Creating a Common Thread". Each day we all sat in a circle and shared what we wished to accomplish and how, or what we discovered about our selves being there in class with so many other talented beaders. Carol would then show her journey through slides on how she developed her true voice by experimenting and establishing a style totally her own. She encouraged all of us to do that too, but the key to finding your own style or voice is to first master the venue you are wanting to excel in. So by taking us each day through the different steps in Mastering Right Angle Weave, we slowly grew and learned to take the different projects and make them our own. Carol was a fantastic teacher. Her approach was open and gentle. She taught the way I like to teach, taking time with each student and patiently listening and watching to make them not only comfortable but achieve the lesson without being overwhelmed. Carol's laugh is something I'll always keep with me. It was so true and so filled with joy. Carol's assistant was her daughter-in-law Annette who was just as open, just as charming, and just as joyful as Carol. Annette would patiently sit next to anyone helping them to understand the thread patterns while Carol was on the other side of the room helping another student. Annette & I talked about dogs (she'd just lost her dog to cancer), her children, her adopted children and everything else in between. She was such a welcome addition to this class & I think she herself is a great teacher.
Third Day project

Carol shared with us stories of how she progressed from making amulet bags to baskets to sculptural jewelry pieces. She showed us slides of her studio in the Appalachian Mountains, her garden, and her family. I felt like I was taking back a piece of Carol with me along with the skills to Master RAW. When I got back home, I was so immersed in this bead weaving technique that I even found myself dreaming of the twist and turns of the needle and thread. I dreamed of taking what Carol had taught me & reworking all the old necklaces I'd made using the foundational skills I have learned. Oh, it was such true journey for me those three days to "see" how I can take this one bead weaving stitch and use it on my own style. Thank you Carol. Thank you Annette. Thank you Bead & Button.

My entourage was with me during the second day class:
yes, I take my beaded beanies with me wherever I go.

Class photo

As for the Master Class location itself, we were shuttled to the Milwaukee Area Technical College each day. For me, it was just as fast for me to walk from the Double tree hotel each morning and afternoon. Every morning waiting for us was a luscious breakfast hand made. No microwave or thawed out donuts for us. A group that I forgot to get their names made us breakfast and a delicious lunch each of those three days. I would be so full that I could barely keep my eyes open but there was my favorite beverage all the time. I asked one of the guys if I could take a picture of him making my omelet for me. He was thrilled & did a little throw in the air to make us all laugh. I have to share with you this little thing about the MATC...the bathrooms on the 6th floor had the best view of downtown Milwaukee! I told my class mates this & we all rushed to the ladies' room to check it out.

For my classmates, we had people from all over the US there. We laughed, we shared stories, and we sat quietly beading away. One of our classmates was from Japan, and we all loved looking at all the beading treasures she was using in class. I got to share three wonderful days with women around my own age which for me was the best part of the Master Class.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rainy Day Scotties

I woke up this afternoon with rain showers plowing through the area. Though we had a record amount of rain in May, we really do need this rain. Our tomato plants are thirsty & we certainly do love our tomatoes around here. I was sitting on the couch with my first cup on coffee trying to wake up when another round of storms came crashing through. Something must have triggered in the brains of Arwen and Frodo, as both jumped up from napping and ran to the back door to watch the rain crash down on the patio. I was chuckling as they looked like a canine Laurel and Hardy. Frodo is just barely within his weight range and Arwen is way above her's. There they sat watching the rain and I think at one point there must have been a squirrel (LOOK!) running along the fence tops. Then Arwen comes over to Chris & isn't this the most adorable face you've seen. She sometimes looks so submissive, but in actuality she wants to be alpha dog around here. Trouble is that Fiona is the oldest but doesn't care. Frodo is Fiona's son & doesn't care either. But when Arwen tries to be dominate both jump on I guess she does look sad because she just can't be the boss...but she is!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More pictures from Milwaukee

On Thursday night as I was waiting to get into the big Market place, I walked along the Frontier Airline Building looking at all the displays. The piece from Bead Dreams were out along with a display of Japanese artist. There was one display that just took my breath away. It was Ukrainian bead artist. All these pieces were in glass cases so unfortunately there is some glare. Please enjoy these as much as I did.

I still haven't finished unpacking from Bead and Button. All the beads and kits I purchases are still stowed away in my bag. I'm waiting until later this week when I get the "I had to go back to work blues" and opening these bags of treasure will make me happy.

Speaking of Happy, yesterday was my last day of vacation. I've only been off 10 days, but it seems so much longer. Last night, Chris & I went to see Robert Plant and The Band of Joy. It was here in Columbus at the Palace Theater. It wasn't as nice a venue as two years ago when we saw Robert with Allison Krause, but it was a big plus at not having to drive up to Detroit and stay over night. I enjoyed the new band he was playing with & they played many of the new songs from the album "Band of Joy". But what was amazing was the new renditions of old Led Zepplin songs. They crowd was on their feet during most of the show, but luckily I was sitting in a spot where everyone was sitting through 75% of the show so I had a wonder view. Also being only 28 rows back and in the middle helped. Only bad this was that the feed back was pretty bad with some of the songs and my ears were ringing and the sound was very distorted. But all in all, it was a great show.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bead and Button

I haven't posted in so long. I think my writing Muse had taken a vacation long before I decide to. Just life getting in the way and spending too much time in the Art Cave beading away has left me limp by the time I come upstairs to sit in front of this computer and try to journal about what I've been up to. So instead I just took a sabbatical from blog land for awhile. I actually took a small sabbatical from all computer things for the past week. I went to Bead and Button show in Milwaukee last Saturday and came back last evening. I didn't think about work at all, and I didn't take my lap top even though there was free WiFi in the hotel where I stayed. It was kinda nice to just veg out with the classes and my beads. I took a great Master class with Carol Wilcox Wells and a full day with Marcia DeCoster. (More about both of those later). My goal for the week was to learn Right Angle Weave or what beaders refer to it as RAW. Did I ever learn it! I find myself dreaming in RAW! I woke up a couple times with bead weaving patterns imprinted on my eyes. I wrote them down and them smiled as they made no sense what so ever as they were mystical dream pieces. Hum...wonder if that is how Carol & Marcia come up with their wonderful designs.

Julie, Me (looking wind blown as I walked down to the Art Museum that morning with the winds blowing 30 mph), and Cynthia

As a come back from my long silence, I thought I share with you some pictures from Thursday night at the opening of the doors for the Vendor Night only for participates of the Bead and Button show. I got in line @ 3:15 & my two friend Cynthia and Julie met me there. It was chaos when we first entered but I had my plan. I wanted to go to Out on a Whim first to see Shawn & Beki and pick up some new seed bead colors. WOW is all I can say about their displays. I actually was first person at their booth! Woohooo! Then with map in my hand I wandered throughout the showroom looking at this purchasing that, enjoying a quick conversation with old friends and meeting new people who all love beads.

I got to show Betcy at Beyond Beadery the piece I finished with our BFAC kit and add a few more seed bead treasures to my stash. I found out that I don't have to whine about not having Silamide anymore as I found BeadCats has it in all the luscious colors I have loved and used all up. They told me they could order me more. Double Woohooo as I adore Silamide. Then I found a booth with metered/measured stones. I feel in love. I spent so much time there that I wondered if the skies outside had darken. Nope, still more time. I have to photograph all the wonderful treasure both bead, crystal and Fiber (yes, I bought fiber there that is to die for). So here are a few pictures I took Thursday night at the big Market in Milwaukee. I think I MIGHT have enough beads just from this show to keep me going another couple of years.