Sunday, July 30, 2006

The week that was..

It's been quite a week - I played softball twice this week, and the Monday night game was eventful, if nothing else. I'm playing with people I don't really know all that well on Mondays, and so it's a little harder to use the powers of moral persuasion to convince them to do things.

At any rate, there was a disputed call during the 3rd inning. The opposing team's third base thought he heard a call one way, and got very upset when everyone else thought the opposite. He stormed off the field, but not before he threw the softball *at* our player and towards the bench.

I like to play sports - it gets me out of the house and acts as a distraction from the twenty other things that are either blowing up or out of my control. But I never understand why some people take life so seriously. Is a bad call in one inning of a rec ball game going to so drastically affect your life that you feel the need to throw things at other people? Give me a break - it's freaking *rec* ball - as far as I know, rec leagues have never created world peace, fed starving people or created a ceasefire in a country where there is strife. So why stress yourself out about it.


In other news, the media in Canada has been filled with reports of how badly stranded citizens in Lebanon are being treated. One person even complained that they didn't have a pillow to use at the embassy when they showed up to be rescued.

I'm not totally sure what to make of this one - I don't think I want to pay for the kind of "stand-by" facilities that some are suggesting that the Canadian government should have had in place. To move potentially tens of thousands of people out of a country in war conditions in a day or two would require a large contingent of infrastructure, and I'm just not sure that it's something I want tax money spent on. And I've spent plenty of time travelling, and sometimes I have to wait, and sometimes the facilities aren't to my liking. I've spent several hours asleep on various airport floors, and while it isn't my preference, I know that it's all part of travelling. And what ever people went through in Lebanon, it's all part of being rescued.

That, and I think there's a huge difference between rescuing the "residents" of your country and rescuing the "citizens" of your country. It's not unusual to have citizenship in two or three countries these days, and Canada's never been opposed to having people with dual citizenship. However, if you're going to want to to be rescued out of your place of ordinary residence by any or all of the countries that you have citizensip in - well.... that one might require a re-think.

The SBQ (that I have't got around to answering) this week was:

Many of us have a few pairs of embroidery scissors and some even have a “collection”. How many pairs of scissors do you have? Feel free to share a photo of your favorite pair or pairs with us!

My scissor collection is below, and of course, most of them have sparklie fobs attached. The blue one is a fob from ages ago - the middle bead is soapstone, and I don't even know what the rest are. But it's on my usual pair of scissors, and it's the one I usually reach for. The bottom pair of scissors has a "scissor bracelet" on it - mostly comprised of early versions of my beads. I like the bracelet, and the attached cap for the scissors, and it's always neat to look back on something and realize how far you've come. The other two pairs have my lampworked beads on them as well - with various combinations of crystals and bali silver.

I've also decided to try and up my "Random Acts of Kindness" to once a week - it might be something small, and it might not be for someone on the internet, but I thought it would be a good thing to remember to do something nice for someone else at least once a week. I'll be sending a package out this week, but as a teaser, I thought I'd offer this:

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A couple more progress pictures

I haven't felt like writing much lately - life just seems to be filled with uninteresting details that don't make for very good blogging. I did get a bead order in this week, and I started on Pyra this week. What you see in the piccie is her hair, and she'll soon have the start of a forehead. I've also got another progress pic of Alhambra garden - I love looking back at my progress pics to see how far I've come. When you're in the middle of a huge project, it's nice to see that there is progress being made!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The un-rat race

I met friends for lunch today - one of whom is taking a break from working, and the others of us readily admitted that we're planning to downshift rather early in our working lives. Maybe not necessarily retire early, but likely shift down to a less stressful existence. All of us are the kind of people who are perceived to have our lives together - have good jobs, volunteer, and are generally productive members of society.

It struck me that none of us really wanted to pursue the traditional version of success as none of us were really interested in making a gazillion dollars and working 80 hours a week. And I know many other people who are taking breaks along their career, or who have taken on less stressful positions in order to do what was right for themselves and their families.

I'm not totally sure if this is a local phenomenon - the local economy is booming, and it's pretty easy to be complacent at the moment - or if this is a generational thing. But I'll be very curious as to what the next 15 or 20 years looks like in the working world.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

New Bracelet

It's actually an old bracelet, but I remade the centre bead this weekend, so I thought I'd share. It's Mostly italian glass - there's very few pinks that are made in italian glass, so the light pink and the bright pink are pretty much all that's available. The clear pink beads are Japanese glass, which is so soft that I have a hard time doing anything with it, and I generally don't turn my torch up very high. I added some crystals and some sterling silver beads to make the whole thing pretty!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Finally catching up...

I finally feel semi-human again - it's been a heck of a two or three week stretch. It's been really busy at work, and I've been busy with volunteer work. Living next to the greatest outdoor show on earth means that I don't sleep alot. It's too noisy to keep the windows open and too hot not to have the windows open during most of the festival. The combination of not sleeping and being really busy and not eating well left me completely out of sorts by the end of last week, and I finally feel like myself again.

So tonight I did laundry, and cleaned, and threw out spoiled food and a few other things. And I finally got Suzemo's scissor fob packed up and ready to go. I drew names for the fob a while back, and I'd like to run another drawing soon, but I haven't decided whether to do a pendant, scissor fob or something else. If you have an opinion and want to leave me a comment, by all means!

Today's Stitching Blogger Question:

When you get a project professionally framed do you get glass inserted into the frame? Why or why not?

I've had a few things framed - mostly gifts, and I like the look that glass gives the finished piece. To me, not putting glass on things doesn't look right, but hey, thay's me!

Oh - and I realized my mistake on Alhambra Garden - all the green in the steps is now back to the proper shade of purple.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Alhambra Garden Progress Pic

I know I haven't written much - I've been really busy, and a few other things have taken over my life lately.

At any rate, I thought I'd share a piccie of Alhambra Garden - I'm going to try and sneak in another hour on it this morning.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday Photo Gallery

I haven't shared photos of new beadies for a while, so I thought that this morning would be a good chance to do so. I plan on putting some up on Etsy later in the week, so if you're interested, check back.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The strange things that happen

It's Stampede. And there are 2 1/2 days left.

So... I'm at a bar at lunch today (and I'm completely sober) - and in walks one of the gorgeous Anheuser-Bush Clydesdales and a dalmation dog. Into the bar. A real, live clydesdale horse weighing several tonnes - and his dog pal stroll into the middle of the bar.

I should mention that the bar in question is actually a large tent in a parking lot that doubles as a very popular bar, so the tent is slightly more feasable for clydesdale entry than most bars. But it is located in a large downtown core, and there really isn't a good way of getting the horse between where he is normally stationed and this bar without walking (or riding) the horse through about 15 city blocks.


*** Just a quick note *** for anyone thinking of trying the scissor fobs, the plastic coated wire is an important step in the process - fishing line and regular wire won't work, even though the plastic coated wire looks like a combination of the two things. You're looking for either Beadalon or Tigertail to make the fobs.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The scissor fob question....

I forgot what an all encompasing event stampede is - I'm dead tired - to the point where everything is just generally sore and my body is cranky with me.

So I thought I'd stick with an easy one tonight - Lelia asked how scissor fobs are strung.

You'll need plastic coated jewellery wire, a couple of metal crimp beads to make up an actual fob - plus a tassle (or charm) for one end, some beads for the middle, and a lobster claw clasp for the other. Any large crafty store sells the wire, crimps and clasps - the wire is generally known as tigertail or beadalon. The instructions to string the whole thing together are here - you have to pretend that the little tag thingie in the diagram is actually a tassle, but I'm sure that the idea is there.

You want something that looks like [clasp][crimp][beadsbeadsbeadsbeadsbeads][crimp][tassletassletassle] at the end of it all. The picture several posts down gives a better idea - the little silver metal beads on the very outside of the glass beads are the crimp beads.

Hope this helps,

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Sunday Night Files

First up this evening - the scissor fob. I drew names out of a little bowl, and Suz is the fob winner! I've enjoyed reading everyone's comments in the last week, and hope to do offer up something else in the near future.

In other news, could someone please explain to me what would posess a mother to take a *newborn* to a large fair? I'm not talking about a several month old baby - the two very tiny babies I saw today were likely under a week, and one woman admitted that her baby was only 5 days old! I should mention that Stampede today was terribly hot today, and certainly hot enough that I was damp and needed a drink by the time I walked across the grounds. It defintitley wasn't small child weather, and certainly not small baby weather. And it's not like a fair would be the best place to be at the best of times - it's crowded and busy and a lot of other things that (IMHO) aren't really 5-day old newborn material.

I shouldn't be surprised really - people do things at Stampede that they would never get away with at any other time of year. Last year, I was on my way home from the park and noticed that enterprising young neighbours decided to have a rock concert on the top of a large delivery truck - in their front garden! It was, at the very least, a novel approach to marketing their band.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

New Beads...

I actually got to make beads yesterday - and I'm pretty happy with a couple of the things that came out - these ones are some of my favorites.

Also, just a quick plug for the scissor fob drawing a couple of posts down. I'll pull names after 6pm tomorrow night, so if you're interested, drop me a comment on last weekends post.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The latest....

This is the latest in the bead creations - a lariat style necklace.

And so it begins.....

Welcome to the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. The first set of fireworks have just started to go off, and there will be many more in the 10 days to come

Today marks the unofficial start to the Calgary Stampede - tomorrow is the big parade and the official start to the Stampede. I actually have tomorrow off work because fighting a quarter million people to get to work is apparently considered cruel and unusual punishment, and well, making employees show up to work on Friday afternoon only is also apparently considered cruel and unusual as well.

The next 10 days mark some of fashion highlights and lowlights of the year. Last year (and I kid you not) - the highlight had to have been a full Stormtrouper costume at 7am. I was waiting at the train platform, and a gentleman got off with with a complete costume. I figured it must have been custom made, because it fit too perfectly not to have been. The lowlights - well.... there were many - tutus, fishnets, and other unmentionables. One of my co-workers commented that it's Mardi Gras with a western theme.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Stripping Away the Layers

I'm on a weight-loss kick again, which happens every so often, and continues until I get busy with something else. I managed to lose about 10 pounds this spring, thanks mostly to an Irish dance class. The instructor was very good, but also very demanding, and for someone who'd never really even seen Irish dance before (save for a couple of Riverdance showings over 5 years ago), the choreography was tough. Which mean that I actually went! To every class - except the one that I was out of town for. It helped that the class was Monday, and I generally didn't develop other things to do, or have plans that early in the week.

The 10 pounds was put on over the last couple of years, and for most of the pounds, I can remember why they were added to my weight in the first place. At least a couple of the pounds were from the stress of a bad boss, a couple more for a bad job, and a few more beyond that for break-ups and bad relationships. I feel like I'm through most of the crazy stuff - my current job and boss appear to be mostly sane, and I'm in a much better place in my personal life. It's kind of nice to be finally rid of the pounds, as well as the memories associated with them.

Rant of the Week

I haven't had a good rant on here for a while, so grab a cup of tea and prepare yourself. I've had occasion to witness people lacking so terribly much common sense over the last couple of days, and I don't think I can hold it in any longer.

Rant #1 - I frequent a large Canadian coffee shop - the one named after a hockey player. It sells coffee, tea, and a limited variety of baked goods - and they have pretty much the same baked goods every week. They have bagels, donuts, cookies and a few other things, but really, there aren't a lot of suprises when you show up. There is always a monster line at the one near me - like 30 or 40 people deep. So why, oh, why do people stand in the line, but wait until they are actually at the counter to make up their mind as to what they are going to have? It's not like any of this is a surprise. And it's not like any of this changes drastically from week to week. And the one near me is generally well stocked, so it's not like you have to wait until you get up to the counter to see what they have left. Sigh.....

Rant #2 - I work out at a large fitness facility - pool, gyms, aerobic area - all of the good stuff. Change rooms are double sided - entry to the gyms and aerobics area (and the common area) on one side, entry to the pool on the other side. I'll admit that I'm not all that well versed on gym change rooms, but this seems like a pretty common layout. Knowing that the change rooms are going to be shared among all users of the facility, why do the swimmers choose the change area closest to the gyms? They have to drag their wet bodies, swimsuit and whatever *all* the way through the change room, and then enter what should be the least wet area - the row of lockers closest to the gyms. After they've finished dripping all over the floor (yuck), they usually put their swimsuit and towel on the row of benches (also yuck
). You'd think that common sense would, at some point, prevail, and everyone would clue into the fact that there are lockers closer to the pool.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

A giveaway!!

I've decided to run a little giveaway!! I was playing around with some beads yesterday, and came up with the scissor fob that's beside the post, and thought it might be fun to give it away to someone I know (or at least that reads the blog). So if you're interested, just comment below (preferably with either an email or a blog name, so I can contact you), and I'll draw a name next Sunday to pick a lucky winner. The fob has a lampworked focal, a couple of lampworked spacers, and some crystal and silver beads to compliment the whole thing.

If you're lurking or stumbled across the blog by accident, and are interested in the scissor fob, by all means leave me a comment :).

If you want to be sure of getting one of the fobs, or if turquoise isn't your thing, there are a couple of others for sale here.

Other Sunday stuff - I actually got to stitch this morning, so the other pic is my progress on Alhambra Garden. It's coming along quite well - I can't wait to start beading it!! The centre space is all beaded, but I'm using q-snaps and don't want to crush the poor thing, so it's currently void of any colour.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy Canada Day!

It's July first, meaning we get a bit of a break on our taxes - the government here has decided to reduce GST (sales tax) by 1%. I'm still trying to get a new credit card out of my bank (long story), so I probably won't go wild this weekend with purchases. July 1st is also Canada's birthday - so happy 139th!!

I did list a couple of sets of stitch markers over at Etsy, and may have some more to list later on. It's been to hot to sit in front of a torch this week, so I haven't done a huge amount, but I thought I'd try and get a few things done.