Monday, November 30, 2009

It's coming back

The excitement, that is. I've been in a very blah mood lately; for several months I had a really hard time even picking up my beads. I wasn't happy with anything I was doing; I felt dull and unproductive. The ideas weren't there. I wasn't getting the flashes of inspiration that keep me enthralled . . . everything felt flat and tedious.

The odd thing is that I'm in the middle of a rotten cold; I'm not up to doing much but wandering from couch to computer, drinking endless cups of herbal tea. What an odd time for inspiration to strike, eh? But there it is. Not fully formed, not engineered as yet, but one of those lovely flashes of inspiration has struck; one of my favorite sorts, where I suddenly see something, fully formed, in my mind.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to make it.

Yes, Virginia, that's the fun part!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pots and pans

Traditions are found in odd places, sometimes. For most of our children's lives, we lived on the other side of the country from the rest of our extended families. We built up our own holiday traditions; because they were entirely within our own home, they soon became set in stone.

A little over a year ago, we moved cross-country and things changed. We're sharing our holidays. But sometimes, we're discovering, we need to keep our own traditions, too.

So this year, we're giving thanks twice. Once in our own home, just like we did for so many years, and once with the rest of our extended family. We're having our traditional meal today, with everything cooked in the same pots and pans that they've always been cooked in. That's where I began this post; I just put the stuffing and the yams into the oven; the stuffing in the big round one, and the yams in the oval one. The turkey is in the smoker, and the veggies are on the stove, waiting their turn to boil.

I changed the dessert, though. I'll take my pumpkin pies to the family dinner tomorrow; I made a pumpkin cheesecake for tonight.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

To share or not to share

Nope, there really isn't any question about it for me. The more I share, the better I feel. About the only thing I find it hard to share is lampwork. I really, really have to love someone and trust them before I will let them have a lampwork bead from my vast collection; I do not easily share my lampwork beads.

In fact, I'm Gollum-like in my lampwork hoarding; I'm not above caressing them and murmuring, "My preciousssss..."

But really, that's my main selfish spot. I'll hand over just about anything else.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Beading, beading, beading

It's a semi-big project, and I'm half-way done. It sure feels good to be beading again; I was not a happy camper when both of my beading boards were full, I had several projects stacked on trays, and I just couldn't face looking into my cupboard under the stairs.

My desk is still semi-covered with lampwork, but it's inspiring, not irritating.

It has taken me awhile, but I'm really starting to get into mixing lampwork with seed beads; I'm coming up with lots of ideas. Now to find the time to implement them!

Too bad I didn't clean up my cupboard a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Yup, I did it to myself again! For the past couple of months, I've been acting oddly. Instead of ripping projects out and putting the beads away when I no longer felt like finishing something, I started stacking my unfinished projects. You see, I start and abandon as many projects as anyone else, but I've learned over the years to burn the evidence.

Some projects just aren't worth finishing; when I get that blah feeling about something, I'm not going back. It can be a perfectly good whatever it is, but suddenly, there is something about it that isn't working for me. Half the time I don't even know why I'm losing interest, but there it is. I just suddenly know that I don't want to finish it.

Rip, rip, rip, sort, sort, sort; and it's gone. Just like that.

Except suddenly I wasn't ripping anything out, I was setting it aside. And not only was I setting the project aside, but most of the time all the beads I'd pulled out to go with it were set aside, too. Sometimes, not even in the same location. The stack was in danger of toppling, and I wasn't at all interested in any of it, but for some reason, I was letting it pile up, and I didn't even realize what I was doing.

Today, it all clicked. I have a project that I have wanted to start for the past week, but every time I walked over to my bead closet, a horrid feeling of dread swept over me, and I couldn't even open the door. "Maybe later," I'd tell myself, and I'd do something else. "Maybe I just need to take a break."

Nope. I needed to get rid of all the false starts and put all of my beads away; as soon as I did, all my energy and joy came flooding back. The needle feels good in my hand again.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The end of an era

My minivan has met the end of its useful life in our family. It was a sad decision; I loved that car. My children went from car seats to ipods in it; we went around town and across the country in that van.

Part of me wishes that the childhoods it saw could go on forever; part of me knows that it's time to move on to the next phase in our lives. With our youngest approaching 18, my days of driving a van full of kids is over. No more daily trips to Karate, play dates, drama, music, or sports; it's been awhile, actually, but the minivan and I remember what it feels like to have kids kicking the seat backs.

It was a good car; it was a good part of my life. But it's important to know when it's time to move forward, and it is most definitely time. A brand new Hyundai Elantra is sitting in our garage; we picked it up yesterday in a town about 100 miles north of us, and I drove it home. It's a dark blue sedan; it's small and cute, and, compared to a minivan, it's a little bit sporty. It turns on a dime, has pretty good acceleration for its size, and goes a long way on a little bit of gas.

I think I'm going to like this next phase of my life.

Monday, November 9, 2009

For the record

I just ate half a pomegranate.

Some people can't stand fiddly foods; and pomegranates are probably one of the fiddliest. Even if you can coerce someone else into peeling it and separating the juice-covered seeds for you, you still have to suck the juice off and spit out the seeds yourself. Pomegranates are definitely not for people who want to take big bites out of life, chew it up quickly and swallow it.

Nope, pomegranates are for those of us who like fiddly work. Non-fiddly people may enjoy pomegranate juice, jam or cookies; but you can bet that they will lose interest in the fruit itself very quickly.

I also love artichokes.

Yup, I'm definitely a fiddly-food person.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The last of the Terra

As y'all know, I love lampwork beads. Perhaps it would be closer to the truth to say that I am obsessed with them; I have passed well beyond being a collector, and have joined the ranks of hoarders. I could probably use a 10-step program, but this is an addiction that I don't want to break.

If you had been a fly on the wall for the past couple of years, you would notice a pattern in my bead acquisitions; you would see that I have done my level best to buy up every bead featuring Terra Glass that came from the flame of Melissa Vess.

Go ahead, click on her name and go to her shop; you won't see any beads made with Terra in there. It's all gone. I bought the last of them a few weeks ago, and I've just made them up into a bracelet and a pendant set. It's not the last of my Terra stash, you understand; it's the last of hers. I still have quite a few in my collection.

But these are special.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

When love needs neglect

It's a hard concept; I'm used to caring for things. But I've just bought some new plants, California natives all, and all the research I've done says that they must not be put on the drip irrigation system. As any gardener knows, watering a plant is considered crucial. It's how we plant-mothers show our love; our babies are never allowed to dry out. They might shrivel up and die, and we'd feel horrible about that.

Enter the irrigation system; I love my irrigation system. It remembers, even when I forget. It doesn't get all caught up in something else and wake up, days later, to realize that there is no milk in the refrigerator and the plants haven't been watered; nope, it turns itself on and off, and all I have to do is check on things every now and again, adjusting times and making repairs when called for.

But now these plants are gumming up the works. They're not supposed to get supplemental watering; and, in particular, they are said to hate being dripped upon. It makes sense; they grow naturally here, and we only get rain in the winter. No one goes up in the hills with a hosepipe in the summer to attend to their needs; obviously, they have come to terms with the concept of not getting any water for months on end.

I, sadly, have not. I feel terrible about not providing them with a drip. I will watch them carefully, at least when I remember to do so; I can't promise that I won't wave a hose at them occasionally, at least during their first year in my garden. It's one thing to read something; it's quite another to accept it as true.