Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Loveliest Place

I am so blessed to live in such a beautiful place, in a beautiful country in this beautiful world. In this lovely summer weather I do a lot of my work outside, especially on pleasant cool days like today. What could be better than working to a backdrop of such loveliness, with a chorus of birdsong and waves? The deck is like an extra room, I take photographs, knit, and clean beads, we eat meals, sometimes I'll even iron linens or steam clothing out there. Sometimes I bring out the radio, but not often, the outdoor sounds are so relaxing.

Such a beautiful view. Only a small section of this yard is cut, the rest is wild, right down to the shore, and packed full of wild strawberries, briar roses, Queen Anne's lace, clover, daisies and asters, goldenrod, milkweed, hawthorn, mice, butterflies, bunnies and dozens of types of birds. And fireflies, they are wonderful beyond belief this year.
The potted flowers are flourishing. (My nephew used to call these "Auntie's pot plants").
On old scavenged yard sale benches.
A splendid 2-story log dragged from the beach, makes an ideal perch for a variety of birds.
Flora will be wearing a morning glory garment soon.
Looking back from the end of the deck.
I painted all the flower stands and chairs this year so everything is proudly white and crisp. I got a fair amount of paint on myself as well so for a while I was all white and crisp too. I adore the fanciness of the fuschia flowers.
Junk from the beach. Rusty springs and loops of wire, roots, weathered wood.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pretty Things

Pretty things, currently up for grabs on ebay. Ending Sunday June 27th, around 11:30 pm.

A fabulous 1940s Little Black Dress, with a marvellous Surrealist print of flowers and a mysterious ladies' face, beautiful condition and a wearable size.
6 pristine Madeira leaf doilies or coasters, with gremio tags still attached.
A group of superb estate linens with amazing embroidery, cutwork and handmade bobbin lace.
Peach silk and lace undies from the 1930's.
A gossamer 1950s black lacy slip.
Delightful beading on an early 1960s cardigan sweater.
A charming little white lace 1950s blouse.
A wonderful gold-stencilled black velvet panel c.1880.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ice Cream

Wild strawberries are ripe in the meadow. They take forever to pick, forever to clean as they are tiny, the size of a small fingernail, but the burst of flavour in each tiny berry is amazing. And it is lovely to pick them, listening to the waves, the birds, crouched in the long waving grasses, with the sun hot on my shoulders and the scent of the wildflowers and the sweet berries like incense.
Valentine investigated my empty bowl, and took one taste. After licking her little chops for five minutes she decided that it was NOT gravy and thus not worth her time. So and I, however, we have decided that it is Very Good. I might have some right now!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Very Great Hotel!

I stayed in a superior hotel for Bead and Button, it had some excellent features. I couldn't help bragging about them to my friends.
I had a:
Chaise longue
A dish of candy on my coffee table
A goldfish bowl in the lobby, with goldfish
A Bible AND a Book of Mormon
Bunk beds
Pez dispensers
A harpist to lull me to sleep
Free breakfast
Possibly unicorns (Paul stated he could believe the unicorns but not the free beer)
Time travel
Matthew Fox AND Anderson Cooper AND Russel Crowe
Peanut M&M's

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bead and Button Wrap Up!

Home, finally, from the Bead and Button show in Milwaukee. It was a great week, filled with laughter. The classes I took were great, I learned a lot and I have lots of ideas and new techniques to explore. I met some really smart and interesting people, saw old friends, had some delicious dinners, bought some great beads and treats and saw so many amazing things.
It's enriching to talk with all these talented people. They get it. We mutually understand why we do what we do, and nothing needs to be explained. I love it.

Sunday and Monday I took a class with Susan Lenart Kazmer and her sister Cheri Lenart, which included moldmaking, casting glass using frit and billet, and the creation of several kinds of settings.
Here are Cris and Bronze Gail mixing up our casting investment. I kept expecting (and kind of hoping for) a Lucy and Ethel moment in which Gail would plaster a handful of slop into Cris's hair, but it never happened. Cris and I made made rings. Here, Gail models my Glowing Heart of Canadian Patriotism, Cris's Pulsating Pickle of Pulchritude, and my earlier Drama Deflector ring. Gail's stunning pendant, which glowed in different colors according to the light, the setting was bronze which really brought out the colors in the glass.
It was a great class and everyone made amazing stuff. It's going to be such fun to explore these techniques! My personal challenge will be to see what I can do with the 104 glass I have on hand, rather than adding another COE to the the studio.

Dinner at Charro, here is the lovely Gail Crossman Moore ("Felt Gail"). And Anne, wearing a plantain chip as a mustache, because she can.
The Bead Dreams competiton display was wonderful, as always, so many amazing pieces in so many different techniques and styles and from all over the world. There were a number of cabinets like this, filled with entries, this is the display of lampwork , polymer clay and "other materials" beads.
Big Bad-A-Boom necklace, looking quite contented!
I shamelessly pinched this picture from Gail's blog...because...
My Flying Pod vessels took first place in the lampworking division!
I had to double check before I called So, because I thought I imagined it. I'm very honored and delighted to be included in the show, let alone to place among the winners. My sincere thanks to the judges, and to Soft Flex for sponsoring the lampwork category prizes.

I bought some adorable finger puppets thinking they would make cute cat toys, and gave them to my fellow cat owners. Nothing like giving a bunch of adults some cheap, cute toys at an expensive restaurant to turn them into a group of silly kids. Luckily our excellent waiter is a teacher in his day job and had no trouble keeping us in line!
Cris seems to be hearing voices from her black cat puppet, which she later said was "evil".
The Vulcan salute as given by Anne and four finger puppets.
Dessert at this restaurant (the Capitol Grill) was divine. Cris and Paul had a chocolate Hazelnut cake.

I had a flourless chocolate espresso cake. Sigh.
Stacey and Gail had Coconut Cream Pie.
Anne had fresh berries with cream. Gigi didn't have any, just a tiny nibble or twoGail admiring the cookie on top of her pie.
These are the pieces I made in the Glass Clay class I took with Paula Radke. They haven't been fired yet. They remind me of faience, and are light and rather crispy feeling. They've shrunk quite a bit already and I'm curious to see how much more they'll shrink during the firing. The blue rabbit has been filed refined, the green one is still unfinished. I'll be sure to post pictures when done.
The Glowing Heart ring. I love this, truly, it's light and comfortable to wear for such a huge ring. Fun!

The bezel setting class I took with Joe and Anat Silvera was excellent. I can't believe I made this! The stone is one of my glass cabochons from a few years ago. I need to work on the final smoothing of the bezel...this is where hand strength is useful as the silver is quite work hardened at this point, I'll just keep smoothing it.
I also took a dot clinic class with Kristina Logan, which was excellent and an enamel on beads class with Bronwen Heilman, also excellent, though I forgot to take pics of the class beads I made. I think the enamelling class will be the most fruitful for me, I have an idea now of how to actualize the Catacomb beads I've been wanting to make.

Here are some of the treasures and treats I brought home.
A marble by Trey Cornette, full of dancing people.
An exquisite glowing bead by Katherine Natalia Wadsworth.
And a spectacular Harold Williams Cooney bead. I am in awe of his work.
A glorious 1920s French beaded passionflower.Jasper, jasper, pearls, pearls and some to-die-for grade A coral spikes.
Pink garnets, hessionite garnets, andalusite, labradorite, quartz, pyrite, pearlsPink beaded baubles from the 1960s, the tiniest 1920s silver metal spangles.
One beautiful OLD battered carnelian bead, very large, smooth, heavy and cool.
Modern tiny seedbeads.
VIntage 1920's TINY TINY seedbeads, the black ones are size 20.
A tiny beach pebble expresses it's opinion of the tiny seedbeads, and incidentally looks much the way I feel after such a busy week.
And finally an entire posse of Bob Burkett miniature bronze skull beads. Oh my!

That's all for now. In my next post I will tell you about my amazing hotel!