Friday, July 31, 2009

Where did the day go?

I honestly don't know.

It went somewhere; but I don't have much to show for it. I did start the tutorial for my little beaded rings; I didn't get as far on it as I would have liked, but I did get several diagrams drawn.

And that's about it. The rest of the day went here and there, but to nothing I can name or even particularly remember.

Weird. But some days are just like that.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Back to the beads

I found something to do with my 2mm crystals. Surprised? I doubt it! I suspect that if you know me at all, you knew I wouldn't rest until I did.

Rings. Cute little rings. Fun little rings. The 2mm crystals look like little diamonds between the gemstones, pearls and crystals I've used; yup. I made half a dozen of them today. I'll write up the pattern tomorrow; these are fun and easy to make, and I hope that others will like them, too.

The 2mm crystals aren't the only unusual thing I used in these rings, however; I set aside my beloved round seedies and have been using cylinder beads instead. I don't usually use cylinder beads; they're too perfect for my taste. Made up, they look like scales to me, and, in general, I don't like their lack of texture.

But for rings, they can't be beat. They're smaller than regular seeds, giving the rings a lower profile. Bead rings tend to stick out more than I'd like; they're not always comfortable. Cylinders solve that problem.

And after working with them all day, the smooth texture is growing on me. I just might have to rethink my prejudice against them.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Squash and beads

The missing beads turned up; they were in the garage. Of course, I had replaced some of them, but that's okay, now I have lots. I spent last evening sorting them out and putting them away. Those little 2mm crystals are so tiny; I still don't know what I'll do with them, but now at least I now know where they are should inspiration strike.

The box of beads was discovered as we were moving our new deep freeze into the garage. We'd wanted one for a long time, and with the amount of squash we've been harvesting, now seemed like a good time to just go ahead and get it. We figure it will pay for itself in no time, just in squash alone. Of course, we'll also be able to buy other things on sale and stash them in there, too. I'm sure that having quick and easy meals in there will cut down on the "we're going out for dinner because everyone is too tired to cook" days. Frozen pizza and lasagna are wonderful things to have on hand.

But I digress. I sliced, blanched, and froze squash this morning. I cut the five monster ones in half and scooped out the seeds so that they'd be ready to stuff. I sliced the normal sized ones into rounds, and laid them out on cookie sheets so that they would freeze individually. My cookie sheets are huge, and I got two layers of squash on each one. Later this afternoon, when they're frozen solid, I'll pop them into gallon bags.

It's a good feeling to put food away for the winter.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ya caught me

Yup, I've been gone again. Too much going on, too much on my mind. But I can sum it up in one word:
I've got two of them. Sometimes things run fairly smoothly around here, and sometimes, well, they just don't. Lately it's been very much on the bumpy side. I've been planning to write, but you know what they say about good intentions. However, I just got a very nice reminder that I'm read, and missed when I don't write, so I decided to just do it, right now.

Our garden continues to grow; we're talking about getting a freezer just to keep ahead of the squash. If I freeze the excess, we'll be able to eat squash all winter long. And still have plenty to give away. The cantaloupes are continuing to grow, and I cut two more artichokes today. The tomatoes are just beginning to ripen; that will be the next deluge. Last night we made pesto with our fresh basil; tonight I think I will stuff some of the squash that got away.

It's nice to stop and think about the things that are going well.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Yup, definitely the sorcerer's apprentice

I just made my rounds of the vegetable garden; I picked a bushel basket full of yellow squash. I'd quite forgotten how well squash produce when they don't die young.
Note to self: forget the seed packet next year; a six pack from the garden center will more than suffice.
I also thinned out the carrots again; this time I got actual carrots out of the thinning. They smell divine. The lemon cucumbers are beginning to ripen; I picked two of them, and a few cherry peppers, hungarian peppers and bell peppers. The beans are in full flower; I suspect they will be the next deluge.

And the pumpkins and melons are getting larger by the minute.

The lettuces and collards are also monsters; yesterday I cut the first two artichokes. Anyone have any good veggie recipes to share?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Feeling like the sorcerer's apprentice

A little back story, first. When we lived in New York, we had a vegetable garden every year. We didn't get a lot of vegetables, but we had a garden. Our tomatoes and lettuces produced enough for salads, the squash got mildew and died before producing even a flower, and the beans gave us half a dozen dinners.

Erm, we're in California now.

The squash didn't get the gunge and die; rather it is producing. Madly. We're picking every day, and still it is getting away from us! Tonight I found two giant ones that had been hiding under leaves; I think stuffed squash is in our very near future. The tomatoes have hundreds of little green globes on them, and the beans are just coming into flower.

The melons and pumpkins and cukes have left their raised beds and are sprawling on the ground. I swear, I can actually see them growing. It's amazing how quickly it happened; it feels as if we just planted the seeds the other day.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Where has the week gone?

I can't believe how quickly this week has gone!

And I'm not entirely sure what I've done with it. Certainly not everything I'd hoped to do with it; but then, that's hardly as surprise. Most weeks I have more that I'd like to do than is really possible to do.

Looking at my bead board, I discover that I made three variations of a bracelet (the tutorial is in the process of being written) and a handful of beaded beads that may or may not end up in a contest entry. The contest is the Haute Couture Contest - Inspired Wearable Bead Art, and my current inspiration is drawn from this piece.

I say current, because I may well change my mind and start over with another one before the due date.

Told you I tend to plan more than is reasonable.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Need for speed

I just upgraded my Mac from 512 megabytes of RAM to 2 gigabytes. We're blazing now! And then I spent the past hour clicking on things just to see how fast they'd load. Colossal waste of time, I know, but I'll make it up when doing real work.

I've been messing with computers for most of my life; I remember keypunching. I did my own keypunching when I first started programming, and I dropped my fair share of decks back when a deck was a box full of cards, and not a Power Point presentation. Slides were something you squinted at, or put in a projector; usually upside down or backwards.

Sometimes it strikes me how much the world has changed in the past 50 years. I don't feel all that much different; sure I'm a bit more creaky, and the outside package isn't as nice to look at as it was 30 years ago, but on the inside, I'm still the same.

Do wish I could replace the RAM in time; I'd slow it down. I like my computer to go fast, but I'd very much like my life to go a bit slower.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I've learned a new skill . . .

. . . installing drip irrigation.

Okay, so it's not rocket science, but it's a very useful skill. Especially in our backyard. We're living in a field, remember? Not a bit of landscaping was here when we bought the place. It's a lot less bare now, but I was feeling at the mercy of our landscaping guru; I really didn't want to buy plants, put them in, and then have to hand water until he could fit us in and install more drip lines.

But then we found two really nice looking fruit trees at a bargain basement price yesterday, and we couldn't resist. We decided to buy them to replace the bare root trees that didn't make it. Of course, our new drip irrigation system didn't have emitters for the trees that weren't there; so today I looked at it and thought, "How hard can it be?"

Luckily for me, not hard at all!

After only two trips to the hardware store, I had everything I needed in the size I needed it in. There are two types of main line; thick wall and thin wall, and the thin wall fittings will not fit over the thick wall tubing. Guess how I know?

Once I had the right fittings, it was a piece of cake to hook up some more line. I then popped on a couple of small lines, added little sprinklers to them, and turned it on. Amazingly, it worked! Our new trees have water. So, I guess that means I can resume planting in the rest of the garden; the only thing holding me back was irrigation.

I've got that sussed!

Monday, July 6, 2009

I think it's done

But, because I never really know if something it done, or I'm just feeling done with it, I'll wait until tomorrow to decide for sure.

I ended up having 13 beaded beads in it; 12 from Bead Origami's tutorial, and one of mine. I'd made my bead for the challenge early on, but then had no clue what to do with it. It's funny how sometimes learning something new can make all the difference!

Only one of the beads actually follows the tutorial; the rest are variations. Most of the variations just use different beads; a couple are actually verging on being individuals. It's a fun necklace; if I still feel that it's done tomorrow, I'll take photos and share it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Wild thing

. . . I think I love you (strum strum) but I wanna know for sure!

Okay, I'm sleep deprived. And I'm getting very silly. I do that.

In between napping, I've been working on my beaded bead Rock pool necklace. I'm still not sure I'll get it done before the deadline, but I'm working on it. It's one of my wild ones; my interpretation of a rock pool included a lot of grassy underwater growth undulating everywhere.

It's a good beading project for a not-quite-there mind; it's pretty random. No counting.

The beads are geometrical, but the rest of it isn't.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Beading beaded beads

The marathon is winding down. I am now weaving all the beaded beads I've made into a collar. I may make a few more for this collar, or I may not.

I will certainly make more beaded beads for other projects.

I'm hooked.

Friday, July 3, 2009

A walk on the boardwalk

We decided to take a day off on our day off; we went to the beach. It was a gorgeous day, and we walked out to the end of the pier to see the surfers and the fishermen. No one was catching anything; the fish weren't biting and the waves were very small.

But the pelicans were out in force; they are very handsome birds, and quite unafraid of people for the most part. They flew about, landing on the railings, staring rather disdainfully at the people passing by. They posed for photographs, and put up with all sorts of nonsense before finally flying off and settling back down again in a new spot.

As much as I love my beads, it's always nice to get out and do something completely different. I did sneak in a trip to my favorite LBS on the way, of course . . . I picked up a bunch of Czech drops to work into beaded beads.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Beaded beads

I figured you might like to see what I've been going on about. These are the beaded beads I made yesterday; I've made a couple more since then, but today I've spent most of the day working on the rope that will serve as the base for the necklace.

These beads are a lot of fun; as you can see, they lend themselves to a lot of variations. I'm having a grand time playing with them! I'm not sure that I will be able to finish this one in time, but that's okay. What matters is challenging myself, and I'm very pleased with how this one is going. It's a fun piece; it's been fun to make, and I think it will be equally fun to wear.

Okay, back to it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fun and games

I've been playing with beads today. In between other things, of course; laundry and housework had to be done, but most of the day was playtime.

What's the difference between beadwork and bead play, you ask?

For me, it's jettisoning the need to document. I did not take a single note today, did not sketch any diagrams, did not put anything down on paper so that I would remember what I had done. I simply picked up beads and put thread through them in whatever way seemed like a good idea at the time.

I can get away with that, because I was doing variations on someone else's theme. Eventually, my play will take me so far away from her pattern that even she would have no idea that was where I started, and then the process of beadwork will resume; but that will take lots and lots of playing.

Tough job, eh?