Wednesday, January 31, 2007

From the comment files

I got a couple of comments recently that struck me as needing a response, so I thought I'd have a go at it. Silver Thistle asked about starting beadmaking. I don't know if there is a right way or a wrong way to start beading, but I started by taking a class at my local college of art. The class I took included two full days on the torch, and there were only 6 of us, so there was lots of individual attention. I've posted the first beads I made at that session - the're off-centre, half burnt, and generally don't look like much, but they have a special place in my heart. Since then, I've had about 2 more years of practice, own several good reference text and have taken classes from whomever I can find. There are some amazing beadmakers out there, and there are special few who are good at sharing their amazing stuff with other people. I've been fortunate to learn from a couple people in the last category.

As far as expense, I don't even dare add up what I've spent so far. It would probably scare me, and shock everyone that reads this. It's not cheap, and there's always something else to buy. There are different types of glass, and not all of them can be used together, which means I must own about 5 different blacks, whites and clears in different types of glass because I can't use the different types in the same bead.

That being said, I do love it. I love turning this gooey, molten mass into something beautiful. I love seeing how shiny beads are. I love that each one is it's own little work of art.

(And to the Troll Bead question - I don't have the equipment right now to make silver cores - I'm looking at it, but it's not in the near future).

And Michelle wrote me a lovely comment about some glass people she ran into at a show. I honestly hope never to be someone who takes myself that seriously. I guess I've always thought of myself as an artisan rather than an artist - someone who enjoys the process and the craft rather than trying to express an idea through my art. I mostly do what makes me happy when I make things - if that means bright pink polka-dots then so be it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

An Alhambra Update

I actually got quite a bit of stitching done on this during the last week - I usually only have an hour a day or so to stitch, so progress is slow, but most of the time there is some progress. I think having the blog here helps me to get something done - it's nice to look back on the pictures and see how much has actually been done.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

And the winner is.....

I said I'd draw for a bead from all of the comments on the "Pyra" post down below, so I did, and the winner is Carol! I haven't picked out anything to send her yet, so it will be a surprize to both of us. - Carol - please email me at caycay @ shaw . ca with your address, and I'll get something in the mail to you.

In other news, I listed several bead auctions at Just Beads this morning, including the spring floral set and the tiger set that I showed here earlier in the week. We'll see how everything goes with the auction.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I took the day off.

I'm supposed to be using up some of my flex days at work, so I took today off. I watched an obscene amount of Grey's Anatomy, which included Discs 1 and 2 of the Season 2 DVD. Add to that last night's episode, and you've got a real Grey's overdose. I have to admit I was slightly shocked by the ending of Thursday night's episodes. I think I know how this one is going to end, but I'm sure the writers have more twists and turns in store for us.

While watching all that Grey's Anatomy, I stitched (of course). I finished my January Christmas Ornament for the Christmas Ornament Stitch-A-Long. I still need to find the Mill Hill Snowflake Treasure for the middle of the ornament, but I will pick one up the next time I am at the needlework store.

I also got quite a bit of stitching done on Alhambra - I'll post pictures of that later in the weekend.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

My Pay It Forward made it....

I sent the scissor fob to the right to Katrina as a Pay-it-Forward. I was getting a bit worried, as I'd sent it out about 2 weeks ago, and hadn't heard anything about it yet.

If you're interested in having a bead, or beads, be sure and comment on the Pyra post below. I will draw for a free bead from those who comment on that post tomorrow night!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I have the evening off...

So I think I might actually stitch! Last night, I finished side one of the Biscornu for an exchange over at the The Robin's Nest. I think it's looking quite good, and I hope the recipient likes it. I haven't quite decided what the other side will look like yet - I might do the whole design over again, or just the border, depending on my mood at the time.

Oh - and I don't think I've blogged yet about how much of a fan I am of "The Hour". Finally, the CBC gets something resembling hip and cool. It's definitley the best new thing on TV this year. If you don't live in Canada, the episodes are broadcast on the web as well.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Sunday Files - and a question

I've been working on AmuseInk's Pyra, and have stopped because it doesn't look right to me. I thought I'd post pictures here, and see if anyone in the blog-isphere had suggestions. Pyra is supposed to be a peyote stitched bag. I tried doing the beading in the round, meaning that both front and back are worked at the same time. Now that I have an inch or so done, it looks weird. It doesn't really sit flat and nice like I think a bag should - it kind of stick open and looks funny. I'm tempted to take out what I have and re-do it, but I thought I'd ask for suggestions first. As an added incentive, anyone who comments and offers a suggestion is eligible for a bead draw! I'll pick a name and send them a bead (or beads or something even cooler than just a bead, depending on my mood at the time) for their time. Everyone is eligible for the draw - it doesn't matter if this is your first time to the blog, or I've gifted you with something before or you've never commented before - it's all good. Just leave a comment. I'll make the draw from all of the comments received by the end of Friday, January 26th.
(And Michelle - I haven't forgotten that I owe you something, it's just that I'm tryin' to do something nifty and it's not worked out yet. Soon, I promise!)

I also have an Alhambra update. If only I got this much done every week. I'm now motivated as I'd love to join the St. Petersburg Chatelaine that starts in April, but I need to get this one done before I spend more money. I'm looking at going on a trip between Prague and Moscow, through Poland and other places in Russia. I'm *really* hoping it happens - I have to re-arrange somethings at work and it depends on the trip actually running, which I can't control, but we'll see how this all works out.

I also have a bead update! I finished this set of tiger beads this weekend. I'm quite enamoured with a few of them - I don't know what they'll look like on your monitor, but in real life they're a deep rich carmel colour. I'm not totally convinced it's a true tiger colour, but I *love* the colour that they are - perfect for jewellery. I have a couple of trial beads in blue. I was trying out different types of vine cane on these ones. Vine cane is the background of the beads - it's supposed to look like a vine, and it sort of does on these beads, even though it's blue. I have three different types of vine cane on these ones - blue with lots of black (left bead), blue with a little black (right bead) and blue with darker blue (middle bead). I think I like the blue with a little bit of black - it provides enough contrast without being over the top. I'll likely make a set of these when I get a chance. These beads are all from the new set of tools that I bought from Zoozii's a couple of weeks ago. I'm still figuring out how much glass goes in them to produce the correct shape, but getting the hang of it slowly. The bead on the left is a "nugget" and the beads in the middle and right are "sprees" or straight sided lentils.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I love those days....

When you get to sit around in your PJ's, drink coffee, make a real breakfast and otherwise just chill. I've decided that today is going to be one of those days - I have no real plans, and the week has been such a schmozzle that I need a break.

It's (of course) year end at work, which means doing about 47 things at the same time, and making sure that all of them are right before the auditors get to look at them. And covering for an absence and a few other things. It's been quite a whirlwhind.

And everything I do in my personal life has started up again. I know I shouldn't think "oh, I can fit that in" when someone offers a new opportunity. But I do. And I'd love to be more fit and skinnier and all of that good stuff, so signing up for every activity under the sun *seems* like a good idea at some point in time. So this week, I made it to two dance classes, two different sports teams, a 3 hour meeting, and a professional society dinner. All before Thursday.

But today's about stitching, and relaxing and drinking coffee. And for that, I am greatful.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

New Beadie Happy Dance

I got home late tonight from a professional society dinner, so I'm not that inspired to write tonight. I do have some new beads to share, so I thought I'd add those to the blog. I got a new glass press a couple of weeks ago, and these beads are the results of my trials. I actually got two - this round one and a square shape that I haven't had a chance to try out yet. Glass presses are a bit tricky to use, as you have to figure out how much glass needs to be in the bead before you smush it. Too much glass will leak out the sides, and too little results in a bead that isn't shaped properly. You then have to figure out how much glass to add at each stage of the bead to end up with that much glass at the end. These beads are tricky - it's a green base, with some glass bits added, covered in clear, dotted in white, dotted in blue and then purple and then smushed. It's not an exact science, but I think these ones came out nice in the end.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Amazing Race

I'm totally excited for the new season of Amazing Race - it's going to be all stars, and several of my favorite teams are back. The coal-miners from Kentucky are returning, as are Rob and Amber and a few other notable teams.

I have to say, of all of the reality TV shows, Amazing Race is the only one I might actually apply to be on. I've been sucked into watching a few other reality shows (well, actually most of the reality shows, if I'm really honest with myself). I don't think I'm talented enough for American Idol, Project Runway, or So You Think You Can Dance. I don't think I'm tall or tiny enough for America's Top Model. And I don't think I started out famous enough for the Surreal Life or that Paris Hilton one. So by process of elimination, I think we're down to Amazing Race.

And I think it would be cool to travel to all of those places - I'd probably have to pick someone who didn't mind the eating challenges (although I have already eaten camel prepared the same way as on the Amazing Race last season, so I may have a stronger stomach than I think!). I don't know how I'd handle jet lag and what I'm sure is a lack of sleep, but most contestants on the show seem to be ok, so I'm sure I could tough it out. Especially for a million dollars.

The next season starts in February, so I can't wait until then.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Alhambra Update

I stitched a little bit in the past week - not very much, but here's an update..

The Monday Files

There wasn't a lot going on this weekend - we had a wrap up party for one of the sports teams that I play on. Friday night we cooked for the party, Saturday we had the party. The cooking part I don't actually mind, as it was accompanied by several good friends and many glasses of wine. And many more on Saturday.

Other than that, not much happened. I made a couple of beads over the weekend, but none of them turned out the way that wanted them too, so they might end up in the special bead pile. And I went shopping on Sunday, but only returned home with a few things of make-up and some groceries from the expensive grocery store. (I only shop at the expensive grocery store when I need Japanese breadcrumbs, because half of the recipes that I own call for them, and no-one else carries the breadcrumbs).

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

SBQ - Cross Stitch Dreams

It's been *forever* since I answered one of these, and I'm procrastinating from doing something else tonight, so here it goes:

  • Do you dream of running your own LNS/ONS? If so, tell us about your dream. If not, tell us about your cross stitch dream… maybe you dream of designing, dyeing your own floss or fabric, etc.

To tell you the truth, I'd love to own a cross stitch B&B / retreat. I'd love to be so financially secure that having an income didn't really matter, and I'd be able to not care about "making money". I'd love to just have a space for people to come, hang out, eat, cross-stitch, bead, and do whatever they'd like. There'd be wonderful food, a good glass of wine each evening, a selection of good chocolate, and enough light to see what ever you were doing.

That's my dream.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Looking forward to Mondays

I'm home from dance class, and I don't know what to think. I went tonight (Tuesday) because I have a couple of make up classes that I can go to free, so I thought it would be nice to go to a class that I took last semester and didn't make it all that often too. The hour or so that I'm there is fantastic - I honestly don't think I've laughed so hard in a long time. Everyone in the class jokes, banters back and forth, makes quips. But at the end of the night I didn't really leave breaking a sweat.

Monday nights, on the other hand, I come home drenched in sweat. I'm afraid to go to the gas station on the way home because I look *that* awful. Honestly. It's pretty nasty.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm honestly not capable of working myself as hard as I get worked on Mondays. I can go to the gym, but can rationalize leaving a couple of minutes early, or turning the machine down a couple of notches. I can't do that in the classes - I have to work - there are too many mirrors and too many other people not to.

I posted that I've been to every single Monday class, with the exception of those that I was out of town for. I turn down hockey tickets for Mondays because of dance. This isn't like me. I rarely go to all of something, and certainly not at the expense of hockey tickets.

I guess I feel guilty because I'd like to like the Tuesday class. I'd love to feel the same way about it as I do the Monday class. But I don't. And I'm kind of glad that I only have the couple of make up classes to do.

The Tuesday Report

Pay -it-forward #1 went out in the mail today - I hope the recipient likes it. I will post pictures here once she has opened it, but I figure it's not fair to reveal here first.

I went to my first dance classes last night. I take ballet and irish dance on Mondays, and so far have lasted 2 semesters and have only missed the classes when I've been out of town. Please note that this is a personal best for me - I've miserably failed at attending most things, including Salsa, Belly Dance, Highland and Spanish. I ususally get busy, and then get behind, and then have a hard time catching up.... and so on...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I promised an Alhambra update

and here it is (ignore the creases):

This is the end of one page, and a tiny bit of the start of another. It's coming, sometimes a little more slowly than I would like, but it is coming.

I'm hoping to start St. Petersburg mandala this year, so I am trying to make substantial progress on this before starting anything new.

I've also posted all of my progress pictures in an album over to the side - its always neat to look back and to see your progress on something like this. Its come a long way since June!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Saturday Report

It's Saturday, and I'm really tempted to go back to bed. Some friends and I shared many bottles of red wine last night, and it's not agreeing with me very well this morning.

It was a bit of an interesting evening - one of the friends I hung out with last night works with another person I'm friendly with. I'm not overly friendly with the second person, but we do have lunch or brunch together every couple of months. Last night's conversation centred around the second friend - she's married and apparently she's been overly attentive with a couple of the guys in the office. This isn't sitting well with my friend. Apparently somehow I'm the bad person for maintaining the second friendship, even though it's only lunch every couple of months. The friend I shared wine with last night really feels "wronged", and although I do see some of her points, it's hard for me to really assess the situation if I don't see a lot of what actually goes on, especially because I don't work with either of them anymore, and don't see the day to day stuff. The two people involved have never really gotten along, and so I know I'm not really getting the unfiltered version of the truth. I don't really maintain a close friendship with the second person, but I don't really want to give up the friendship only to please my other friend.

Other than that it's been a pretty quiet week. I've been trying to be good and get to the gym, and have been fairly successful so far. I live near a large multi-use facility, and it's ordinarly busy with ongoing things. This week of course, it's been extra busy with everyone trying to keep new years' resolutions. I tend to work out late, but I've been going a little later than usual to try and get a machine that's open. I don't tend to sleep as well then, so I've been really tired all week.

Oh - I'll have an Alhambra update soon - I got lots done over Christmas, and want to put pictures up soon.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The New Year stuff

I've been trying to be good this week - working out at the gym, bringing lunch to work, cleaning the house. It's been kind of nice when I get up in the morning and know that I have most of what I need to done, but it's also extremely exhausting, and I'm tired. I hope it gets better....

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year! and New Beads

A large "Welcome to 2007" to everyone who read this. My New Year's "plan" is to get in shape, and to that end, I've been at the gym every day since Friday, and will be heading over after I finish this. I don't use the word resolution, since the word hasn't done much for me in the past, and I think "plan" is a much better use of the word.

For anyone who might be interested, Spark People is a free to use service that does pretty much the same thing that other commerical programs do - it measures calories, exercise, etc. From what I can see, it's as well run as one of the commerical programs that I signed up for, so if you're planning to make a healthy lifestyle part of your life this year, you might want to try it.

Ive posted pictures of new beads as well - they're similar to the bead I posted a couple of weeks ago in colour, but have huge holes in them so that they string onto a cord really nicely. I'm going to have to learn how to line beads like this in silver at some point, as I think it would look really cool.