Monday, February 21, 2011

(Done with) Winter Enchantment

I never thought I would get this finished!  I forced myself to stick with flat work so my focal tree wouldn't be overwhelmed.  It was very boring, to say the least.

One evening, the sky was so softly shaded that I wanted to incorporate that into my piece and luckily
I had these very softly hued peachy-pink seeds in my stash.  I colored the beadbacking (that's Nicole's super-duper-how-did-I-ever-bead-without-it beadbacking, by the way) with colored pencils to shade in the area I wanted colored. 

It is a very subtle effect and looks better in person than it does in pics.

Once I put it into the shadowbox frame, I was so happy.  It made such a big difference!
I found the frame at a tag sale for just 50 cents and the glass is very reflective, but for that price, I won't complain!  It was pretty impossible to get a good shot.  Maybe you could all just pop over to my house for a visit so you can see it in person -- that would be fun!

A special thanks to Mother Nature for providing the inspiration and for providing me with some of the products used to capture a small bit of Winter Enchantment.

~Bead Happy and Often~

FTC Disclosure:

The chain, wood links, and Toho seed beads used in the tree were provided free of charge from Artbeads in exchange for my unbiased review of the products.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

White(d) Out!

Between the snow and ice outside and the blizzard of white beads scattered across my beading table,  I HAD to take a break and immerse myself in color.

Since my winter enchantment piece is consuming my entire beading table, I didn't have the space to start a color beading project, so  I satisfied my color cravings by organizing some of my seed bead containers.

Some day I'm going to have ALL my seed beads organized.  Oh all right, that's NEVER going to happen, but it was fun to think about it for a second.

I added some snowdrifts to my piece.

And this winter sun -

which I hated and promply ripped out!

I'm now filing in the background with clear seeds and will hopefully be done with this by the weekend.  Just in time for our weather to warm up.  We've been promised temps in the low 50s on Friday!!! 

And if all that white wasn't enough, the Lace Guild that I am a member of has started a really fun project.  Its a mystery lace sampler.  Each meeting we will be instructed on a different lace technique.  This month is Tambour lace, or as I like to call it -- Tedious Tambour. 

Using a very tiny crochet hook, you 'chain stitch' the thread through the netting holes.  It makes me crazy! 

We are just making an edging and a cute little bug (look really closely - click the pic to enlarge- and you might be able to see the outline of the bug) and I am so glad that's all.  This is a real bugger of a stitch..........

Bead Happy and Often!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

(sick of) Winter Enchantment

Please read this with 2 things in mind:

1.  It is 4 degrees outside, although the sun is shining.
2.  I am typing this with gloves on because my 1880 house is impossible to keep warm on my heating budget.

Anyway,  I was working on my Winter Enchantment piece for for the blogging partners program.  Not really feeling the love because I am SICK OF WINTER. 

I also have a funny story to share (see the bottom of this post), so I thought I would share my progress on my beading too, even though its not finished yet.

I love the way the tree turned out by using the Artbeads components.  (See bottom of this post for links to the products used).  

I've now been paying particular attention to the various snowscapes and weather patterns around here to get inspiration for my background.

I beaded this to represent the frozen circles we found while hiking along the shore of Lake Ontario a few weekends ago.

This rather lumpy, discolored area is to acknowledge (as much as I try to ignore) the old, yucky piles that are left after the parking lots and streets get plowed out.   I remember as a girl we used to go down to the plaza parking lot and climb the huge ice/snow mounds that bordered the parking lot.  It was a blast.  Now, I just try not to see them.

And I've been paying attention to the types of snowfall.

One day/night we had this awful granular type of snow.  Not pretty.  This is my least favorite kind of snow.  Its dull and useless.

The next day came my favorite kind of snow. 

Huge, fluffy, snowflakes that stick to your nose and eyelashes (come on everybody sing......brown paper packages tied up with string....oh sorry, I got carried away.   Sound of Music is my most favorite movie).  Anyhow, its the kind of snow that piles up in a hurry and sticks to every possible place it can and turns your ordinary street into a winter wonderland.  Best of all, its easy to shovel!

Then came the winds that swirl the snow from rooftops and create little snow tornados as gravity-defying snowdrifts form in their wake.

And today with the near zero temps and the brilliant bright sunshine, the snow is glittering like, well, glitter!

This is where I was when all of a sudden my dogs start barking their heads off! 

I jumped a mile-scared me half to death!
Then the doorbell rang. 
Hmm, that's weird.     
Who could that be?

I get to the door and an older 'gentlemen' is standing there. 
?What?  ?Who?
 I'll be honest here:  He looked drunk and unkempt.  I see no car around. 
To say I'm cautious is an understatement.  
Keep in mind that my dogs are still barking like crazy, and I let them keep right on barking.  I want this stranger to understand my dogs are not happy that he is there.
I only open my inside door - I keep the outer door closed.

"Can I help you with something?"  I say
"mumble mumble, locked myself out, mumble mumble"  He replies.  "Can I use your phone?"

DING DING DING  alarm bells going off in my head.   I have never seen this person before and he doesn't look like he's 'all there.'

"No"  I shout over the din of barking hounds.  "But I'll be happy to call someone for you"
He rattles off a phone number.

 I close the door, take my phone and head to the back door (I don't even realize I do this, until after the incident is over - I must have been thinking of an escape in the event he should come into the house). 
I call the number and get an answering machine.  I leave a message with my name and phone number and explain the situation and ask them to call me back.

I go back to the front door.  The dogs are still barking, so I know he didn't leave. 

"I left a message" I tell him.  "Is there any one else I can try?  The police perhaps?"
He gives me another number. 
This time I think to ask him the name of the person who should be answering at that number.  "Alicia"  he says.  Oh my!  That is my (new) neighbor's name....hmm, maybe he's not lying.

I quick call the number and, sure enough, Alicia answers and confirms that it probably is her dad, Rich.  He just got out of the hospital and is staying with them while he recovers.
Well,  I couldn't get that poor man in my house fast enough!  

Come to find out, he had gone outside to have a cigarette and closed the door behind him, not realizing it would lock.  Of course his cell phone was in the house, so he couldn't call anyone.   I kept apologizing for making him wait on my porch and he kept apologizing for 'troubling' me and for looking so bad.  I gave him a cup of coffee to warm him up and a family member arrived with a key and off Rich went.  He was embarassed and I was ashamed for have such an untrusting soul.  

Timing is everything, though.  I'm only at home during the day on Thursdays. 

Back to glittering up my snow piece.....and wishing Rich a speedy recovery.

~Bead Happy and Often ~

FTC Disclosure:
The following products were provided to me free of charge in exchange for the review of the products.

Antique Copper-Plated Chain
Antique Copper-Plated Curved Tube Beads
Wood Laser Cut Disks
TOHO Hybrid Seeds

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bundle Up Baby

I came across this beaded doll kit I bought years ago at a Lace Guild Seminar. 

At the time I bought it, I had no idea how to bead.  I just thought maybe 'someday' I would learn.   The directions were pretty sketchy and vague.   I had no clue how to start, so I promptly added it to the 'yeah right' pile and forgot about it.

Fast forward a few years and a few (ok more than a few) bead classes later, and it was time to shake the dust off the kit and just do it!  I wasn't real keen on the colors and added some of my beads and didn't use all the bead choices in the kit.

Here's her backside.

I didn't know what I was going to do for the face, until I came across this dichroic (I'm sure I butchered the spelling of that) cab with the same colors as the beads in just the right size.  Perfect.

Her hair cracks me up.  Reminds me of a clown.

She's a tiny little thing and needs a name.  Suggestions anyone?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

California Dreaming on Such a Winter's Day - February BJP

Funny that the second quarter I randomly picked for the Bead Journal Project (BJP) happened to be another state I travelled to for business. 
It was late Fall in 1993.  I was in my first trimester of pregnancy with Meghan and I was so sick.  I hadn't told my office yet that I was expecting.   Little did I know the nauseous-ness would subside in the second trimester only to be replaced by daily migranes that lasted the duration of my pregnancy and beyond.  Ever have to ride an elevator with a migrane - every day- multiple times a day?   Not fun.  Anyhow, let's get back to California.

I remember hating this trip. 
Hating California. 
Hating the person I travelled with. 
Hating the office staff. 

I'm sure it was just because of how I felt physically, but I was tired of travelling and just wanted to go home.

So how to turn all these negative memories into something positive? Time for an attitude adjustment.

Thinking back I do remember some 'fun' out of the trip.  The airport shuttle van ride was an experience I'll never forget.  It was really neat to see the neighborhoods around Los Angeles as we dropped off travellers to their homes.  One guy lived way up high in the hills and I was so nervous the brakes were going to give out when he parked the van and helped the guy unload his bags.  We were right in the front seat facing down the hill and I felt like I was on a roller coaster at the crest of the first drop.  Exhilarating but truly frightening.

It was cool that we could see the Hollywood sign from the office windows.  That was surreal. 

The fact that the entrance ways to the freeways had traffic lights to regulate the cars entering  was new to me.  Holy cow - the freeways were huge and the traffic unlike anything I had ever seen.  Give me sleepy ol' Buffalo any day.  

One night the office manager took us to dinner in a really beautiful restaurant somewhere in the hills outside of Los Angeles.  As night fell and the lights starting twinkling in the hills, it was magical.  I remember I couldn't even eat and the conversation was really really dull, so I just lost myself in the view.   Thinking back to how beautiful that scene was, I found  inspiration for my piece.

Starting with a black piece of Nicole's super-duper how-did-I-ever-bead-without-it beadbacking, I collected an assortment of night time colors. 

After outlining the quarter to make it like a full moon, I made 3 hillsides (gee, what a surprise - 3 hills).  I wanted one to have a very steep incline, to remind me of that shuttle van ride.

When I was filling in the smallest of the hills using the boucle (carpet) stitch, I didn't realize I had used a white center bead on every stitch.  I didn't mean to, and almost ripped it out because I thought it was too much.  But then I thought that it was OK, and it was meant to represent the City of Los Angeles far in the distance from the sparsely populated hillside.  Cool.  I love it when the beads tell the story without me even trying.

As I was filling in the night sky around the 5 stars (gee, what a surprise - 5 stars!), I realized that I didn't like the way it was going to come out.   So rather than continuing working my way to the edge, I started from the top down and filled in the area with shorter rows. 

Even though I used a 2-bead edging around the entire piece, I changed the beads and the placement of the seed beads to give it some variation from the sky to the hillsides.

Seeing this dark piece next to the bright Florida piece on my refrigerator is really neat.  I'm anxious to see what State comes up in March. 

February BJP 2011
January BJP 2011
I know it's only the second month and maybe I'm still in the 'honeymoon' phase, but I love being a part of the Bead Journal Project.  Just the opportunity to reflect on my past has really opened my heart and soul to what it is that has made me into who I am today.  I like to think of this as my personal Bead Journey Project. 

~Bead Happy and Often~