Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Left turn!

I do seem to take a lot of those.

I've had a challenge piece simmering for over a month now . . . not heating up, not cooling off, just sitting there tantalizing me. The deadline is rapidly approaching, and I'd all but given up on it. Instead, I've been making lace, and that's gone rather well, so I can't complain, really; but that going-nowhere-fast challenge piece was bugging me.

Then today, I saw a fabulous beaded bead tutorial by Bead Origami called Double Bubble Jacks Beaded Bead and my own challenge pot started to boil.

How fast can you say "ordered it?"

I've already made one, and this is EXACTLY what I needed to meet this challenge! The time is very short, though; I may not get it done. But you know me; that matters far less than finding the way the project wants to go.

That's the cool part.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

It's getting serious

My black size 15° beads have gone missing.

No doubt they are with the other missing beads; somewhere in this house there is a box of beads, and I have no idea where it might be.

It's odd, I tell you: I don't have a lot of stuff, and I really though that I knew where things were. But somewhere there's got to be a box that didn't get unpacked. Perhaps in the garage? Or accidentally delivered into one of the children's rooms? If that's the case, it could be years before it's discovered.

First the 2mm crystals, then the beads with the Czech finishes, and now my black 15°s.

What's next?

Thursday, June 25, 2009


We just got back from a mini-vacation to Monterey and Carmel; in Monterey we spent the day at the aquarium. Can you guess what my favorite exhibit was? Yup, I think I could have watched the jellyfish for hours. They are such beautiful things; I love the way they float through the water, undulating, tangling, and untangling with each other. They put me into a very relaxed state.

In Carmel, we wandered around the galleries; it's a lovely town, and we saw some fabulous artwork. We drove home along the coast, through Big Sur, and stopped at Nepenthe for an early supper. Much closer to home, we stopped to take a look at the elephant seals on the beach at San Simeon; it's amazing how many of them there are! We enjoyed watching them; it was the perfect end to a fun little getaway.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The earth shook . . .

. . . and I told my son to go back to bed.

Having grown up in California, and weathered more than my share of earthquakes, I tend to take them a bit more easily than the rest of my family. We had a rule when I was a kid: if nothing falls off the shelves, get over it. It wasn't big enough to talk about. If things fall off the shelves, go out in the driveway and sit in the car for awhile. Talk about it. Then get over it.

Not much drama was allowed around earthquakes when I was growing up.

So when we had a small earthquake in the wee hours of the morning the other day, I was ready to roll over and go back to sleep. I thought perhaps my kids had even slept right through it. But then I heard my New York born-and-raised son saying, in a less than manly-man voice, "Mom? Dad? was that an EARTHQUAKE?"

"Yup." I said, "But it was a little one. Go back to bed."

I'm a Mean Mommy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day . . .

. . .to all the dads out there. This is the first Father's Day that I've been able to be with my Dad in a long time; it was fun.

It's good to be home again.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I've always been fascinated by it. Over the years, I've learned many different lace making techniques; crochet, macrame, tatting, darning, netting, bobbin lace and needle lace. I've embroidered and re-embroidered lace; I've woven it, knotted it, and braided it.

And, most recently, I've become fascinated with the idea of making lace with beads. I've just finished creating a new pattern; I think it is my favorite one yet. I've made it up into a bracelet, and I have to admit that I keep turning away from what I am doing to admire it.

I'll share it after I photograph it and type up the pattern; right now, it's quite selfishly all mine.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

No matter what I do . . .

. . . my teenage daughter is going to take it wrong.

I need to accept that as a given and let it go. Again. It's the age, or so they tell me. It will pass; that's what they say. Don't take it personally; it's not about me, it's about her. I know, I know, but it still hurts. When will we get past it? Will she ever remember than I'm not the bad guy?

I liked age 5 much better.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bead weaver . . .

Yup, that's me today. All day with the beads; I had an idea for a new weave and I could not stop until I figured it out. Along the way, I wrote a tutorial for a bracelet that uses my new weave, and I attached my button clasp to it.

It's such a nice, soft, weave; it feels good on my wrist. It's one of those that I just can't stop petting. Beads are so tactile; they are smooth, but a little bit bumpy, and I think I like to touch them as much as I like to look at them.

A friend of mine calls this need to fondle beadwork the, "Beader's handshake." It's hard to resist reaching out to a piece of beadwork; it's one of those things that just wants to be touched.

Monday, June 15, 2009

YAY for Sprinklers!

Our last raised bed is now on the irrigation system. It's a good thing; watering by hand gets old very fast. Our veggies are growing by leaps and bounds; the seeds I planted last week have gone from sprouts to plants with true leaves. It looks like pretty much everything is coming up; we've got beans and squash from seed, and loads of other things put in as transplants.

We harvested our first strawberry yesterday; we rushed it a little bit, it was not at its peak of sweetness, but we wanted to eat something from our own ground, and it was good. My Hungarian peppers are starting to turn yellow; they will be ready to pick very soon. We have many little green tomatoes; it is such fun to watch them grow.

In other news, the retaining wall is proceeding apace. When they dug the foundation out, they bisected a gopher hole (of course!) and the gopher spent some time watching them. It was quite funny; the gopher looking at the masons who were looking right back. Mr. Gopher got the last laugh, though; he pushed out quite a mountain of dirt onto the new footings for the wall.

The masons removed his little mountain and built part of the wall today; it will be interesting to see if Mr. Gopher has any more tricks up his sleeve.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Maybe . . .

. . . my new steampunk necklace is done.

It feels done tonight, but I'll take another look at it tomorrow and decide. I'm wearing it right now, actually; for some reason, I find that's the best way to get to know it.

While I'm working on a piece of jewelry, it is more a part of me than something in its own right. I know, that sounds really rather odd; but take my word for it, they don't seem quite real to me. Perhaps that's because I do so much taking apart; if I thought of my pieces as entities in their own right, I'd probably feel badly about ripping things to shreds.

Until I wear them for awhile, they're just possibilities. After I've worn them, they become real.

Friday, June 12, 2009

S-l-o-w-i-n-g down . . .

Yesterday I reached the point in my necklace were I wanted to finish it right now, and the race was on. This morning I had some reminders that it isn't always about what I want! It was time to slow down.

I found a spot where the Nymo broke; that's not unusual, I often have to fix things mid-stream. I tend to pull on my work a bit, sometimes, and I often break a thread or two. So I quickly fixed it up and went on. Wouldn't you know, it broke in the same spot again? Nothing daunted, I fixed it up again.

Can you guess what happened?

Yup, same spot. Figuring that there was just to much stress there for Nymo, I reached for the Fireline 8lb test. And broke it in the exact same spot. Fireline never breaks! One of the beads there must have a sharp spot, that's all I can say. So I took it slowly, knotting after every stitch, and managed (knock wood!) to fix it.

I'm not in a rush any more.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The magic moment

There's a moment when making a piece of jewelry where I can suddenly see what it will look like when it's done.  For a long time, it's all open; it could go any of several different ways, and I have no real idea how it will turn out.  Then, suddenly, it finds its way.

It knows what it will be when it grows up, and it's impatient to get there.   All at once, I'm in a race to finish it.

The necklace I'm working on hit that point today.  It's still got a good bit of work in it, but it's found its form.  Its character has developed.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Beads and pink shoes

That's all it took today to turn me from a sourpuss to a happy camper. A couple of weeks ago, I saw a pair of pink sandals and fell in love. I bought the black ones, because black goes with everything, but I couldn't get the pink ones out of my head.

Don't get me wrong, I love my black sandals. They are super comfy, and yes, they go with everything.

But they're not pink.

Today I woke up feeling rather blah and out of sorts; not miserable, but not really happy, either. And those pink shoes were still on my mind. So I went into town and I bought them. They're a gorgeous; a totally fun shade of hot pink, and I love them. I'm going to wear them with all of my bright tank tops; pink and pink, pink and orange, pink and yellow, pink and lime green; yup, that's me coming down the street, bright as a new penny.

When I got home, my bead order was here. Life just doesn't get any better than that!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A beadiful day

Yup, it was me and my beads today; I'm working on the next chapter of my Steampunk saga, and I devoted the whole day to working on the necklace. It's been in process awhile now; it has been a slow moving project.

Sometimes ideas come fast, and I can hardly keep up with them. Other times, the ideas meander in, visit awhile, and go somewhere else. This one has been that sort of project; it comes a little bit at a time. It's almost as if it were a bit shy.

It's a much softer piece than the first one; perhaps that's why it is more elusive. This is the first time it has stayed with me all day; I'd like to think we're becoming friends.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Godzilla of the Gophers

Yup, that's me! Yesterday, we spent the whole day working in the garden; I nearly finished digging out the main part of where we'll be planting our mixed border. Along the way, I found more than a few gopher tunnels; I remorselessly dug them out.

I would really appreciate it if the gophers would move on, and I'm doing what I can to encourage that. I have sprinkled the areas I want to plant with some stuff that they are supposed to find offensive; I'd really rather not kill them. I'd just like to use part of my yard for planting. They can have the rest.


That is totally unrealistic, I know; they want it all. We'll probably have to resort to sterner measures to convince them to move on, but I'd like to think that putting out stinky stuff and cutting off their tunnels will keep them in their part of the yard.

Friday, June 5, 2009

It was a dark and stormy night

Oh, wait, that's a different story.

But this one is nearly as trite; I'm still trying to solve the mystery of the 2mm crystals that went missing when we moved. Today I realized that they have company; the beads I used in making my mother's Christmas gift are also missing. Now, I didn't post that one to my blog until after we'd moved . . . and I'm fairly certain I didn't finish it until after we'd moved . . . but I'm not sure. I know I worked on it here, but that may have been while I was waiting on workmen to get things finished. Anyway, those beads are missing, too.

I've looked in all the places that I usually put beads, but no luck.

It's a mystery, all right.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Easier than what?

A young woman of my acquaintance asked, "Does it get any easier to get everything done?" and my reply was one word, "Nope."

I'm a fast writer, I always have been. Writer's block has rarely been a problem for me; I sit down, I write. I edit. I rewrite. I edit some more. Rewrite some more. Do a little more editing. Sooner or later, I'm done. It's as good as I'm going to make it. Sometimes I'm simply out of time, other times I'm actually satisfied.

For now.

I've been known to rewrite and edit days, and even years, later. But is it getting any easier? Nope. It's the same, actually. Not easier, not harder. It takes the same amount of time and effort that it always has.

I'm writing three blogs now, and my tutorials. Two of the blogs are intended to be updated daily, and one is updated whenever I finish a piece of jewelry. On one of the blogs I'm accepting articles from others and acting as editor, publisher and writer; the other two are mine alone.

It isn't the largest volume of writing I've ever done, but it's daily. And no, it doesn't get any easier; but it doesn't get any harder, either.

I might have a point here, but I'll be switched if I know what it is. For now, that's good enough.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bling ring

After my fast and furious spate of tutorial writing a week or two ago, I entered something of a dry spell.

No ideas, nothing much happening; the beads were still and silent. So I headed for the garden.

That's not a bad thing; there's plenty to do out there, and it's nice to get out into the sunshine from time to time. But yesterday it all came pouring back. I was making a clasp for my long-term project, and the idea for this ring popped into my head. I made a first stab at it last night, then woke up this morning with the whole thing in my head, as neat and tidy as you please.

So I pulled out the wire, set up my camera, and put it together, taking photos at every turn. There's a new tut in my Etsy tonight! I could not stop until I finished it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Garden notes

Today, my garden suddenly began to look like a garden. We've done just enough to make it look cultivated; we are beginning to impose order on it. Today is the first day that I wanted to take a photo; unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate. It was one of those rare June days when the fog didn't lift; in fact, the fog turned out to be clouds and we had a little bit of rain.

Not a lot; this is California, and it is June. But it was coming down hard enough to drive me back in the house, and it kept me from taking out my camera. Perhaps tomorrow!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Running around

Town, that is. I had some errands to run today, but I ended up not getting to most of them. My first stop was a local hardware store, where they had thoughtfully put a wooden chaise longue in their outdoor display area. We'd been talking about acquiring some outdoor furniture, and this one was exactly what we'd been looking for.

At a very good price.

So I went in and ordered two; found some very nice pads, and even remembered to get what I'd actually come for. A very good start, right?

But when I went around to the pick up area, the boxes were too big to fit in the jeep. "Never mind," I said, "I'll just run home and come back with the van." Which I did.

I got the boxes home, and discovered that one of the chairs was broken. So back I went; they took it away and loaded up another one. By then, of course, I had just enough time to get to my daughter's school to pick her up.

Oh, well, I'll just have to go out tomorrow for the soap and the air pump. Life's an adventure.