Look at this beauty done by Gill Clarence! What a great job! Gill has earned the distinction of being a
Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
When I went away to college, I had a bit of a difficult time adjusting. Suddenly, the world opened wide, and I had no idea of which way to turn. I came from a very strict family who never allowed me to explore much, so when I had the freedom and the ability to explore, I did so with a vengeance.
My exploration was not in the way some kids “explore” when coming from an overly strict home. I was not into drinking and partying as you might guess. Alcohol was never a big thing for me since I was able to have an occasional beer or glass of wine at home since my early teens. I never understood the fascination of getting drunk. As for the other “party aids”, it was not me either. I just wanted to experience everything the college had to offer. Every class, every subject sounded incredibly fascinating to me. I wanted to learn everything.
In that zeal to learn, I overloaded myself. A load of 19 units was average for me. One semester, I carried 21. Way too much for anyone. As a music major, the additional demands of practicing added to my time demands. Three hours per day MINIMUM was what was demanded, and I was studying both the violin and minored on the alto sax. It left little time for much else. Every moment of every day was spoken for. I took everything from German Literature, to Astronomy, to geology, studies of non western music (where I helped hammer out and tune steel drums) , being on the Volleyball team, Field Hockey Team, in addition to my required classes in Musictheory, music history, studio lessons, and being in the Catskill Symphony Orchestra. If I could fit the class and activity in, I would take it!
I spent a lot of time in the practice room. I had several recitals that were part of my requirements as being a music major. I have toured both with the college band and the Catskill Symphony. I loved playing music, and my fellow musicians!
During my second year of college, I ran out of money. My parents were not helping me with my tuition, and they earned too much money for me to get a scholarship (not that they were rich, we were just in that zone where I was left on a limb, financially speaking). I was fearful of the burdens of a huge college loan, so I made a painful decision to stop school for a semester to work and return that fall. Even my professors told me that they were disappointed that I had to stop school for a while. They did all they could to make me promise to return.
It was during my time away from college that I worked for a small printing shop. It was my job to put staples in the spine of small booklets (Saddle Stitch). The wire was fed through a 7 ft tall machine machine, and with a foot pedal, the industrial stapler would staple the book as I held the booklet in place on a metal inverted V shaped holder. Ka-Chunk, Ka-Chunk!! Two staples for each booklet.
The machine had no guards to keep my fingers out of the way. One day, as I hit the foot pedal, the machine with all its industrial force met the index finger of my left hand. Once it hit, I remember thinking, “Shit, this is NOT good”.
With my mangled finger dripping blood, the end of it held on by the thick staple, I calmly walked past a pressman. I was so embarrassed that something so dumb happened to me. I calmly said to him as I walked by on my way to the ladies room “I think I need some help”.
The pressman looked at me…”HOLY SHIT”!!! His panic sent me into a panic, where before I just felt confused (and embarrassed). I sat on the toilet, with my finger bleeding in the sink that was right next to the toilet. Not knowing what to do (gee at 20, you don’t always think too well) I sat there crying. I had gone into shock.
Long story short, on this, they were able to pull out the heavy duty staple and save the end of my finger through some medical miracle. I had 12 stitches around the end of my index finger holding it in place.
Once my shock wore off, the pain of my finger was about all I could bare. That is, until the realization of what that mangled finger truly meant. The intensity of the pain of my poor finger could not match the pain of my soul. I had to face the fact that I could no longer play the violin, at least not under the demands of a student violinist, let alone a professional violinist. Even today, my finger is still “weird”. If I were to try to play for any length of time, it would still be extraordinarily uncomfortable. Even if I tried today, I could never be a good violinist, not even as good as I was back then.
I needed to consider a change of career. I needed to think about what I would do since being a violinist was no longer an option. It pained me to think that I could no longer play my violin as I was used to. It was all I knew. It was what I loved above anything else I could think of. It was like losing a lover when you weren’t ready for that loss. Still to this day, there are times when I am hit with the longing and a sadness for my old violin.
Since I could not wallow in self-pity, I had to come up with some sort of plan. I did not want to stay in Glens Falls. There was little to do there, and I saw no future for me. I had to consider another career. One at the top of my list was to study languages, as being an interpreter and traveling appealed to me. But there was something that was cold and uninviting about Albany State. I could not see myself at a campus designed for Saudi Arabia, engineered to channel wind through its campus in a cold wintery climate (this is a true fact). I was at a loss of where to go and what to do.
Then, while overhearing a conversation two students were having about going to school for animal husbandry to learn about horses, that idea won me over. I knew nothing of horses, but I knew I loved them. What girl doesn’t? The idea of learning about horses for 2 years at the Ag and Tech college and then going on to Cornell to become a veterinarian sounded like a great plan!
Friday, November 27, 2009
The Holiday rush and madness is in full swing. Shopping at the malls, baking cookies, writing Holiday cards, buying and decorating a tree, standing in line at the PO to mail gifts, and on and on it goes. It’s enough to make you breathless, and in the midst of it all, we forget what should be important to us.
My life tends to spin out of control many times throughout the year. The Holiday season is not much different in its taxing volume of demands, just the demands themselves are different. I work full time, I come home to keep my “business” going, there is housework to be done, show applications to fill out, shows to do, classes to teach, bills to pay, dinner to cook, grocery shopping to do…and the list is never ending. Adding to my stress list of chores and work to be done, are financial considerations. Being the sole bearer of financial responsibilities in my household has its toll on my stress burdens, and at times my mood as well. It is easy when we get overburdened to lose our focus on what we should focus on.
One day goes into the next, and what is truly important gets ignored. Much like driving 50 miles per hour in a 35 zone, you see the signs that you are going to fast, you know you should slow down. But you don’t. Not until you are derailed by something or someone who stops you. Then you curse yourself for not taking heed. Now, because of a single event, you are forced to change your habits and take heed of the sign that told you that you were going too fast.
I have come to a certain realization that I too, go to fast, worry too much and try to do too much. I have been told, “enjoy what’s now, it’s bound not to last”. Yet, I needed to keep at my fast pace, even though I valued the wisdom of the sage who continually tells me to stop working so hard and just relax so that we can enjoy the “now”.
Life has its way of forcing you to change. Sometimes the forced change comes with regret, other times with hope that it is not too late to reset your priorities on what is really important and to try to make some positive change. Perhaps there is time to vow to keep mindful on what isreally important. The time has come for me to reflect on what and who is important to me before it is too late.
As you know from my post “My Little Girl” my daughter Jasmine is important to me.She has been my constant companion and friend through many tough years. I am proud of the young lady she has become. I value our time together in ways she will never understand until she has her own children. I worked hard to have a relationship with her, which I could never have with my own parents. Every moment we have together is precious. I miss her terribly when she is not here with me.
Steve, who has also been my friend, confidant and a true love. He has loved me despite the fact that I am no Barbie Doll, he has loved me despite my extra pounds. Hehas loved me despite my grumpy moods when pressures got the best of me. He has never been demanding, and is always happy with what little we had to get by at times. He is my #1 fan of my cooking and cheerleader for everything I try to do, and everything I dare to dream. I love how he calls me at work to interrupt the drudgeries of my office duties when I am chained to my desk. I love how happy he is when I walk in the door at the end of my work day. He has loved me as unconditionally as any human can.
I love my friends, especially Lorilee and Gauri who in a short time have come to mean so much to me. Friends like them are hard to find. They make me laugh, they make me think. I cannot think of two finer ladies.
I am thankful that I have my day job despite our 15% decrease in salary due to our furloughs. So many have lost their jobs, with little to no hope of finding a replacement. I can still meet my financial obligations, as tough as it is becoming.
Despite the occasional aches and pains I feel as I am getting older, I am thankful that I still enjoy good health. Without that, there is nothing. But still, I need to remind myself to take better care of myself.
I know it’s a cliché, but don’t let the Holidays become a mad frenzy of obligations and stress that you forget what it is this season truly celebrates. The gift of love and joy, family and friends are the most important gift we have.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I don’t know where it came from. I don’t know if it was a gift or if I bought it. I don’t even know when it first appeared in my kitchen, but I am sure of this, the Yellow Bowl is magic. It has its own personality, and certainly has its share of stories. It holds an almost revered place in my household, and certainly in my heart, and in my daughter’s heart.
The Yellow Bowl has seen it’s share of cake batter, cookie batter, yeast dough, salads and marinades. It has also held change as we counted out our pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters as we scraped up our money from the change jars to buy food for our meals when times were extraordinarily lean. It held multitudes of beads, as I sorted out a mish-mash of odd beads. But most of all, the Magic Yellow Bowl holds warm happy memories of my daughter and me cooking and baking together. And of my family enjoying the fruits of our labors.
Having had it’s early beginnings with us in New York State, it was the bowl that was used for many of the meals I created. It served as a mixing bowl as well as a serving bowl. It is of an ample enough size to hold most anything I created. Its color makes it easy to find in my cupboard. There was no other Yellow Bowl in my possession. I know now that there never can be.
The Yellow Bowl was wrapped in newspaper and boxed carefully for our cross country move. I did not know at that time how important a place it would have in our home and hearts. It survived the train ride from New York to California when we made our move to the unknown.
As Jasmine grew from a baby to a toddler, she quickly learned that when the Yellow Bowl came out of the cupboard, something wonderful was going to be made that was beyond the ingredients that went into the bowl. She loved helping me cook and bake, it was our special time together. When I would reach for another bowl to work with, she would cry, “No, Mommy, I want the Yellow Bowl!”
Over the years, the Yellow Bowl gained a special place in our hearts. We loved that Yellow Bowl. When a roommate once took the bowl, claiming it belonged to her, Jasmine was in hysterics. She wanted our Yellow Bowl back. Upon hearing that the Yellow Bowl was taken by my roommate, and that there was no convincing her of the fact that it belonged to Jasmine and me, I felt a loss. It was almost like losing a beloved pet.
When the roommate was gone for the day, I did something that is against my principles. I went into her room and stole the Yellow Bowl back. Jasmine and I cried with joy to have it back. We hugged it, and hid it away.
The Yellow Bowl helped us with create Thanksgiving Dinner today, as always. I think it knows it has an honored place in our home and in our hearts. Jasmine and I laugh over some of our Yellow Bowl stories. There are some Yellow Bowl stories, that make me sad. But in the end, the Yellow Bowl remains a symbol of fun and of love.
One day, the Yellow Bowl will belong to Jasmine. One day, Jasmine and the Yellow Bowl will create magic with Jasmine’s own children. The magic will only grow as we tell our tales of the Magic Yellow Bowl.
May you too, have your own Magic Bowl, no matter what the color is, no matter what the size. I wish that your Magic Bowl will overflow with the same love and happiness that our Yellow Bowl has. And may your Magic Bowl always have an abundance to share.
Happy Holidays to all my friends and readers.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Is it me, or do you too hate new “catchy phrases” that everyone seems to use? I know we used “cool” and “far-out” in the 70’s. I can’t tell you what we used in the 80’s and 90’s, guess I just wasn’t “with it”
These generational expressions aren’t what get to me. In the number one pet peeve spot in my gag-me dictionary is the phrase “pre used” or its synonym “pre-owned”. I can’t tell you why it bothers me, but it does.
I am sure you have heard commercials by the car dealers about their “pre-owned” vehicles. They do their best to make it sound like a USED car (let’s just call it what it is, ok?) is something wonderful. Perhaps the USED car is better than new. (No I am not knocking used cars, only the terminology). Being Pre-Owned (not used) is intended to make you think that a service has been done for you, and this service is a benefit. A car with 50K miles that is PRE- OWNED is so much better than a USED car that has 50K miles. Don’t you think so? At least the dealers are hoping that you will take it that way. Maybe the sucker who bought the car NEWworked out all the kinks, to break it in and made it a better car than when it was new. That way you won't get butt-blisters from sitting in a too new car seat or something.
The other day, as I was cued in line at the video store, I noticed a rack of “Pre-used” (no, not pre-viewed or “used”) videos for sale. Again, the word USED on its own was avoided like we would avoid a restaurant where Typhoid Mary was the chef.
Do we ever see “Pre owned” beads? Not even the antique beads that were once owned by someone in times gone by are called pre-owned. Perhaps that is because in order to be pre-owned, the pre-owner should still be alive? I am just assuming this. I don’t claim that is a prerequisite for the “Antique” distinction. But it makes sense to me. The pre-owner of the pre-used car, is likely still alive, as is the pre-owner of the pre-used video, neither of which are called antiques.
When would a bead become “pre-used”? Would it become “pre-owned”? What about the difference in distinction of “antique” and “vintage”? Is the pre-owner of a “vintage” bead still alive and growing rather long in the tooth? And the Pre-owner of the Antique bead pushing up daisies?
What about “nearly new”? Isn’t being "new" something like being dead, or pregnant? Either you are or are not. There is no nearly pregnant. Ok, perhaps the nearly dead description works, but I don’t want to become morbid, so you got me on that one. But still “Nearly new”? What?? Did someone touch it? And because of that, it is no longer virginal? No longer untouched? No longer NEW? I really don’t get the nearly new phrase.
If I stitch beads into my project and then rip out 10 rows (which I have done before), do the beads I re-stitch become “pre-used”? I did use them in several rows, then stitched them again into my project so I did "use" them more than once, technically speaking. What if I didn’t re-use all the beads in the same project, but they wound up in another project, would they now become “pre-used”?
I know what you are thinking. I need a life and something else to think about. I am being absurd.
But that is my mind….absurd and crazy. Maybe my brain was once pre-used….
Gotta run, and stop by Goodwill, for some stuff that is, well, you know….SECOND HAND!!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
This week’s “Tipsy Tuesdays” question is from Cheryl Benhardt. She earns a free pattern of her choice for submitting a question for Norm, Barney and me to answer.
You can earn a free pattern too! Just send in a question about beading, beads, cooking, or anything you like. If we use your question, you get a pattern of your choice. In the case of duplicate questions, the first submitter will earn the pattern. Go ahead, challenge us! J
Here is Cheryl’s question:
How do you choose such nice color combinations? I am color coordinating "challenged" and consult my teenage daughters for advice when I am selecting beads for a project. Do you use a color wheel? Did you take a class? Do you have a favorite book you can recommend? How do you decide whether to use a matte, silver lined, or transparent bead? Any advice you can give me will be truly appreciated.
(Honestly, I am not trying to bomb you with questions.)
Thanks so much for your (and Norm & Barney's) help.
I have never taken an art class, other than an art appreciation class. I have no formal training at all in art.
I do not pay attention to color wheels, I don’t even like the concept. Art should come from the heart and from what you as the creator of that art find appealing. I find that color wheels and that type of rule making tends to make art too technical. In my opinion, art is supposed to be rule free, spontaneous, at the full whim of the artist.
I choose color combinations based on what I like that day. I will lay beads together in their packages. If I like that combination, I will use them. If I am in a real rut, I will just reach into my box of mixed up tubes of beads and pick 5 random tubes (if I need 3 different colors) then I will eliminate 2 of them. Sometimes this gives odd color combinations that turn out really fun.
The color choices I use while designing a piece, particularly in complicated designs, take a lot more thought. Bead Design Programs WILL NOT do a good job for you all by themselves, no matter which program you use. If you try to import an image for the program to chart, it will always look like crap. You MUST “repaint” the whole pattern to get it to look right. I see too many designers who just don’t take the time to do this, and it shows. (And I have gotten lots of emails complaining about these poor designs too!).
Programs do not make distinctions between opaque, transparent and other finishes. This choice alone can change your pattern from ho-hum to spectacular, since it can give depth to your image, or it can ruin it, depending on how these finishes are used. I use matte beads for when I want that portion of the design to be prominent. I use transparent for areas that I want to recede (like the sky) or to resemble the translucency of water. Silver lined when I really want things to be shinny.
Sometimes though, I have no choice in using a particular finish of bead. The color I need will only be in that one finish. So, my general rules for use of a particular finish of bead are thrown out the window. Sometimes, you just gotta use what’s available!
If you are really having difficulty choosing color combinations, go to a fabric store, or even your own closet. What prints appeal to you? What colors or shades of colors do they have? Take note of those combinations. You might find you gravitate towards blues, greens and purples one day. The next day you might like reds, yellows and oranges.
Despite what color theory says, I do not believe there are bad color combinations, for the most part. At least not in beads! I wouldn’t paint my walls in orange and pink, but in beads, in the right way….maybe it would work!
Norm the Gnome in the Know’s Response:
I love color!! All Gnomes love color. Maybe it is because we are gardeners. Have you ever seen a true “English Garden” or a garden tended by Gnomes? There are all sorts of flowers,with a rainbow of colors, all mixed together. I don’t think any of the different colors of flowers will ever clash. Has anyone ever looked at a colorful garden and said “those colors just don’t go together”? If they do say that, then they are just didactic buffoons.
If you ever need help choosing colors, sit in a garden, or go to a garden store. Talk to the pansies especially, they are the best at choosing color combinations. I can’t be near a pansy without feeling happy. They always make me smile. I think that they are the happiest of all flowers. If you look at them for long enough, you can see them smile at you.
Don’t trust those who analyze color combinations. They are not to be trusted. They are control freaks who take the fun out of playing with colors!
Barney The Brainy Bruin’s Response:
I bought my girlfriend Bernie, a hat and scarf once. Someone told me they clashed. Someone else told me that those colors were only for old lady bears (which Bernie is not). Bernie growled at me for that, once she heard that.
But what do I know about colors? I am color blind. My world is in shades of grey, so everything looks good to me. What does red look like? Someone told me once raspberries are a nice shade of red. Is it true?
I love raspberries. They are my favorite fruit.
Monday, November 23, 2009
I love it when someone sends me a jpg of beadwork they did using my patterns! I decided that I will feature beaders here as well as on my website. Steve does my website for me when he can, sometimes he gets a little busy and can't update the website as quick as I can add an image here. I figure this way you can have bragging rights in two places!!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I remember when I was just a kid, I would listen to stories my dad and his friends would tell of the places they had been, and different jobs they had when they were young. To me, it sounded like such an adventure! I was in total awe of them.
How did they find such adventures? How did they get the courage to do what they did? I hoped that when I grew up that I too, would have stories and experiences to tell that would be interesting and “different”. I wanted to live a life that was exciting with tales to tell that would fascinate everyone who would listen to me!
As they say, “Be careful what you wish for!”. I too have had so many experiences. I really don’t think much of them, until someone asks “ How did you come to move to California from NY?” or “How did you come to work as a Safety Engineer/Inspector?” or “How did you start beading/designing/writing books?”As I would try to briefly answer the questions, the answers would always lead to more questions. And what I thought was really not all that interesting, I found has often become an inspiration to someone. Sometimes, as in the last show I did, someone will come up to me and tell me that a particular story I told of my experiences and the viewpoint I had that was shaped by those experiences still resonates with them, some 12 years later! That really blew me away. I nearly cried with that compliment.
A few people told me years ago, that I should approach the “Big” magazines and tell them my story, that perhaps they would be interested in featuring it in their publication, as it certainly would inspire others. I tried approaching an editor or two (A VERY difficult thing for me to do, as really I am much shyer than you might think!). I got the response I expected. “Thanks, but that’s not the sort of thing we are interested in covering…..”
I guess I can understand. They are project oriented, they could care less about someone’s biography, or how someone become an artist and what life experiences influence their art. Yet, I have seen little biographies on other artists. And without meaning to be too egotistical, I think my biography has some unusual twists and turns that their readers would find just as interesting.
There is a short synopsis of my “Bio” on my website, http://www.beadedbear.com, but it barely touches the highlights, let alone gets into “the REAL story”. So, I thought, hey…this blog is about me. Since blogs are self centered pieces of whatever, so why not put my “story” here. So….on “Narcissistic Sundays”, I will tell you where I started and how I got here.I will keep it in short installments and post it in pieces over the next several weeks so that hopefully it will keep your interest. And if you aren’t interested, then….just don’t read, OK??
If just one person happens to find what I have experienced an inspiration, then I will consider my effort here worthwhile. If it doesn’t inspire you, and just entertains you, then it is still worthwhile. It’s not a movie of the week kind of a story, I just hope to show you that if you think there is no hope, there is. I hope to show you that if you set your mind to doing anything you can. You just have to work at it! If I can do it, with the obstacles I had, anyone can.
High School Days
My dad is from Lithuania. He and his family left the country while he was a little boy, fleeing the Russians during WWII. His tale of the hardships of crossing the frozen North Sea area with cart and oxen is a sad tale. His family ended up in Pinneberg Germany, which is where he grew to become a young man. He learned the trade of being a machinist, but before he became a machinist he was a professional wrestler.
My mom was born in Elmshorn, Germany, which is near Hamburg. She had dreams of becoming a professional baker, but her dad wanted her to be in the printing business as he was. She learned to be a bookbinder, which is a lost art.
I too, was born in Elmshorn, Germany. When I was only 11 months old, my dad had been accepted to emigrate to the US along with my mom and me. He had hoped to live in Florida, but we wound up in Glens Falls, NY where a church had “sponsored” us for a while until my dad found employment, and we got on our feet. I have one sister who is 6 years younger than me.
Glens Falls is a small city in the foothills of the Adirondacks, not far from the Vermont Border. It had a population of about 35,000 when I lived there. The main industry is a paper mill. The winters are long and cold. Springs are glorious when the black flies aren’t around. Summers can be very humid but short, and the Fall is absolutely beautiful.
I grew up in Glens Falls, NY and graduated from Glens Falls High School. My High School years were pretty unremarkable. I had extraordinarily strict parents who didn’t allow me much rein for social activities. They always wanted me to come home right after school, so I could not take part in sports, or any of the clubs. The only thing I could do as an extra curricular activity was to be part of the orchestra and band. This was mostly because of my dad, who played the accordion. He had fantasies of me joining him and his friend in playing traditional German music for Oktober Fests and other functions. He encouraged my music lessons and music activities.
I floundered as to what my interests would be, but I knew that college would be in my future. I saw that education was what I would need to rely on myself, despite my parents not being all that supportive of my higher education aspirations. After all, as they said, I was female, all I would do is get married and have babies, what do I need college for?
I found a lot of self worth in getting good grades in High School. The good grades made teachers like me. I found that I could get the praise and admiration from my teachers that I often felt lacking at home. One teacher, in particular became a role model for me. I
wanted to grow up to be just like him! He was my German teacher. He loved everything that life had to offer. There was nothing that he was not interested in, there was nothing that he didn’t take a thrill in learning about. He had such zest and joy that I still admire to this day.
In my sophomore year of High School, I finally decided that music would be my vocation. I played classical violin and a little alto sax. I started playing the violin when I was in the 4rth grade. I adored the violin. I loved the smell of the rosin on the bow, I loved the music I could make with it. I loved Mozart, Bach, Puccini and especially Vivaldi and Johann Strauss. Playing in the High School Orchestra, Band and Jazz Band, I experienced the “performance high".There is no other way to describe it other than to say it is nearly an orgasmic feeling. I think it is what every performance artist works for. There is an immense joy in performing and having the audience enjoy the results of your hard work. It is truly addictive.
I loved the challenges and rewards of my violin, and alto sax. I felt it was my calling, and what I did best. So when I graduated from High School, I decided that I would go on to college to study the violin. I could barely wait to leave the confines of my home and explore what lay ahead with my violin as my companion.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I do not know how glass is made. I keep hoping that during my day job, there will be a glass factory that will appear that will need to be inspected. But other than a couple of bottle manufacturers who make bottles in clear, brown, or green, there is nothing of the sort in my area.
I would love to tour bead making factories. I would love to see how they make the glass, how the colors are made, how the glass is formed, cut and made into beads of all sizes. It interests me both from the technical standpoint, and from the artistic standpoint.
Having an understanding, or at least a partial understanding of how beads become beads would give me a deeper appreciation for them. So, to the folks at Miyuki and Toho, and even the manufacturers in Venice and Czechoslovakia, if you guys are reading this, please invite me over for a tour so I can share what I have learned with my fellow beaders! I promise to do a good story!
The question I have that keeps me awake at night, so to speak, is why do the bead manufacturers bother making beads that do not keep their color? Beads that are surface dyed, galvanized and beads with “inside colors” do not hold up under certain stress factors. Some are much worse than others. Why would bead manufacturers want to make a product that is “inferior”? Particularly the Japanese, who are so particular in so many things. Yes, I know they are working on the “permanent finishes” but why was that not done at the get go? Sure I understand that the old pink glass had gold to give it that great color, but surely, there must be some way to make great colors and finishes that will last!
When I design, I try my best to avoid certain types of beads, namely those fading, unstable types I mentioned above. But sometimes, I just cannot avoid it. I need THAT color, or finish. What am I to do? There is no substitute available in a more color stable bead. The second best color would render my design, in my opinion, to be terrible. Do I just throw out the design in its entirety because of it? Or do I go forth knowing that the bead color is unstable under certain conditions?
Sometimes, the answer is in what the design is intended for. Earrings, tapestries and sculptural items tend to wear the beads out less than necklaces and bracelets where there is skin contact that may erode at the finish. Sometimes, backing the piece with leather or ultra suede will protect the beads from the point of contact that will cause the fastest loss of color.
Some beaders suggest that using a floor wax helps to protect the beads. I am afraid to try this trick. I suspect that it will also change the finish. What happens to the matte beads? Do they become shiny? How about using a fixative to spray on the beads? These are things I have not tried, but I have heard that others use these products to help the beads keep their color.
But still, I have to wonder, why are these vanishing bead colors are even made. Are the bead manufacturers taking their cue from computer companies by making their product obsolete as soon as you take it out of the container it came in?
Maybe we are just too rough with our beads. I know I should not throw my beadwork into the boxes at the end of a show. I should gently lay them down onto soft cotton, read them a bedtime story and ask if there is anything I can do to make them more comfortable. Maybe then, the pinks will stay pink, the “inside” colors will stay bright.
I should also shield my pieces from the sun. That’s tough to do when my booth faces west and the sun is setting. Should I perhaps rub them in SPF 300 and bring out my beach umbrella?
Beads can be sensitive, fussy creatures, after all, they are glass. But I do hope that the bead manufacturers will make some of those fabulous colors last. In the mean time, I will do the best I can do, to use the hardy colors that will stay around. And if I can’t, well, sometimes you gotta use what you gotta use!
Oh, my bags are packed and passport is ready. So which one of the bead manufacturers will be first to invite me over for a tour?
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Last Friday, I was treated like Royalty! Beaders are just some of the best people ever!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Thank you Jill, for your question! Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a free pattern for submitting a question.
If you have a question ( on anything you would like me, Norm and Barney to try to answer), please send it in. You can leave your question as a comment on a "Tipsy Tuesday" or email them to me. If I use your question, then you too, will earn a free pattern. In the case of a duplicate question, the first submitter will earn the free pattern.
Here is Jill’s question:
"Why do I never have enough, or the “right” beads when I create a new project?"
I often have the same problem, even though I have a ton of beads. I usually don’t have a problem with the Delicas, but it’s the other beads I always have problems with. Sometimes I don’t have a good match for the 11’s when I try to match the Delicas with them for fringe. Then the accent beads are even worse. They never seem to be the right color or size.
For me, the problem is compounded when I am working on a project for a kit. Sometimes, I will find the perfect beads for the project, but I will not have enough to even start making kits. It becomes even more frustrating when I cannot remember where I got the beads from, or if the bead is no longer available.
I had this problem for one of my earring kits. The flower bead I used for a focal point of my Primavera Earring was in short supply. I had bought one strand of 25 beads.When I bought them, I really didn’t have plans for the beads. Once I made the earrings with them, and offered them as kit, it wasn’t long before I knew I needed more. I quickly called the store that I bought them from and bought the rest that they had! I have enough to make more kits, but once I run out of that flower bead, I will have to discontinue the kit!
This “problem” is what drives me to buy as much as I can afford! If you see unusual beads that you really love, buy lots of them, as you might not be able to get them again.
Have plenty of the old reliables on hand. You probably have several types of beads that you use over and over again. Stock up on them so you have plenty of them.
As for other beads you might need, don’t you think it is great to have a reason to NEED to buy beads? I love going to a store or on line looking for the “right” bead, and finding it! It’s not such a bad problem, is it?
Norm the Gnome in the Know’s Response
That is a good question to ponder on. It’s probably like having the right garden tools. The right one is never in sight. I think my neighbor, Lars takes them. I don’t trust that guy, he gives Gnomes a bad name. He is always into mischief. He once stole my lawn mower. He never used it, just stole it so he could have it.
Maybe someone came to your house and stole the right beads. Maybe it was Lars. I bet you he has them in his cave!
Barney the Brainy Bruin’s Response
Maybe you have the right beads, but not the right project. It is all in how you look at life. Are you a glass half empty or half full kinda human. Work with what you have and see what you can create and be happy with that.
We bears always just do with what we have, why can’t humans do the same? Live in the moment, eat berries in season, salmon when they come up river and hibernate in the winter. Always take time to smell the roses, and want what you have not what you don’t have!
Monday, November 16, 2009
I spent this last weekend in Oakland CA as a vendor at BABE (Bay Area Bead Extravaganza). It was a fantastic show. This show is a lot different from the one I did a couple weekends ago at Halfmoon Bay Pumpkin Festival. At the Pumpkin Festival, I sell only my finished beadwork. At BABE, I focus on selling my kits, books and patterns.
Unlike the Pumpkin Festival where I set up a 10 X 10 booth, at BABE, I had an 8ft table. It sure took some doing, but I was able to get all my kits, books and kit models displayed. I have learned to build UP!! It certainly was a lot easier and quicker to set up at BABE than it did for the Pumpkin Festival.
Thanks to my blog readers who stopped by to say hi! I really enjoyed meeting you and hearing what you said about how you enjoy my blog! That means a lot to me!
Sales were incredibly good. I really did not expect much as the economy is still tough. I was really pleasantly surprised!! Since sales were so good, I sure got a work out! My charge machine, which is wireless, would not work inside the room (last year I was in the same spot with no problems, so go figure!). Every time I had a charge, I would have to dash out the front door so the darn terminal could connect and process the charge. Some of my neighbors at the show were making fun of me as I ran past them with my machine in hand. But it was worth it.
BABE is a fantastic show. I love all the vendors. There are those who sell beads from all corners of the world, lampwork beads, beadwork, polymer clay beads, buttons and other wonderful unique items. But I have to say, my favorite is Whim Beads. Lucky for me, I am always placed at the opposite side of the room from Whim Beads. If I were placed across from them, I am sure that every time I had a sale, I would run over and blow my money. Whim Beads has an astounding collection of seed beads. If you ever can get to their store in Sonoma County or at one of the shows, you will feel like you are in seed bead heaven! Every color you could wish for in 11’s, 14’s, Delicas, Cubes, Bugles, crystals, all sorts of threads, needles, chains, and other must haves.
Not only is Whim Beads fantastic in their selection, I absolutely LOVE both Beki and Shawn, who own the store. You just can’t meet nicer people. You must visit them! If you can’t visit them in person, then be sure to order beads from their fantastic website http://www.whimbeads.com
Steve and I also had a great time together after the show. Friday night we had a terrific dinner just a block away from the Convention Center. Saturday Night, we met up with Lorilee and her hubby Morgan, and Gauri at Jack London Square, which is right on the Bay. We had dinner at Kincaids, a really fantastic restaurant.
The show was a ton of fun, with lots of great people. And to spice things up, just a few who earned the “GOOMBA” distinction. Don’t know what that is? GOOMBA is what vendors call customers who are rude, obnoxious, and otherwise spiteful. It stands for Get Out Of My Booth, Asshole. The typical GOOMBAs were going around. Making faces at prices, making snide comments. But luckily, they were few. One was kind of funny. She stated that she didn’t like peyote, only loomwork. So I showed her my loomworked pieces and patterns. They were too big. Then I showed her smaller pieces, they weren’t of the subject she liked she only liked flowers. So I showed her a small loomworked flower pattern. She had run out of excuses by then, and just ran from my table. I found an answer to each of her conditions, when really, she just did not want to buy anything. I would have had more respect for her, if she had just said, “I just would like to look, and can’t buy anything, much as I would like to”.
Another GOOMBA came in, and wanted to fondle and pull on the every piece of beadwork I had. Not just touch, but TUG on all the fringe. Several pieces fell off the display from her tugging. I asked her (tactfully as I could) not to pull on the beadwork. To which she of course replied “I am not pulling on it!”. I apologized and told her since she was not pulling on the beadwork, that I had to apologize for my beadwork trying to molest her.
If only I had a picture of her expression as she ran away!
Never become a GOOMBA!! We all know who you are, and have our own versions of the Post Office Most Wanted pictures featuring you!
There was one booth though that distressed me a bit. I had to stop and do a double take. They were selling kits for a pattern that was a spitting image of my Patchwork Christmas Bracelet. It was too similar to be coincidence. While the Santa had a rounder face, and there were a couple elements that were a little different, the same colors and most of the same figures were used, right down to the same hardware to finish off the bracelet. Even the placement of the individual elements were nearly the same order. I was running from Whim Beads back to my booth when I noticed the bracelet as they were right across from them. I stopped and told them that the bracelet was a spitting image. The woman behind the table turned red, and said “Really?”. I had to run back to my unmanned booth and could not deal with her and the problem. I do not see the bracelet on their website. If I ever do, I will deal with it then. So I will be watching. I just hate it when it is so obvious that my design “inspired” a nearly direct copy. I do not find it flattering at all.
These (minor) problems aside, it was a great show. Most people were very appreciative, friendly and a pure joy to deal with. Those are the people I love and keep me doing what I do!