Monday, October 24, 2011

Artsy and Yummy

This morning I had a mocha at the local Coffee's On.  Ariel, the barista, created this!

Gorgeous, and the design lasted for most of the drink!

I've spent the evening working with iCloud.  Updated all the software on all my i-stuff...iPhone, iPad all that.  I also upgraded iPhoto and I'm taking some time to put names on faces... that really takes a long time.  Can you say: "learning curve?"  
I thought I'd finish the awesome bracelet I started yesterday but there just aren't enough hours in the day.
I'm working the next couple of nights so the bracelet may have to wait until... Thursday????  Ugh! 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Columbia River Gorge

Yesterday we took a car ride to Hood River, OR to visit friends.  I can't believe they commute to Portland... 50 miles each way!  I don't get it but I think people on the East coast sometimes commute that far.  An hour plus in the car to get to work probably isn't fun for most commuters.  I imagine our friends love the views, though.  This picture was taken with my iPhone while cruising down the freeway.  Not a great picture, but you get the drift: beautiful Columbia River Gorge... Fall just beginning.
This afternoon I went to a Rings and Things bead sale in Tigard.  I'd just spent some time at their store in Spokane and spent plenty of $$ so I wasn't even sure I'd find anything.  I did!  I bought some cool turquoise colored magnesite, center drilled beads.  As soon as I got them home I started a new bracelet.  About a third of the way into it, I knew I'd run out of wire before I finished.  So I hopped in the car and off to Michaels for some 22 gauge antique brass wire.  I've been wire-wrapping all day and my fingers are feeling it.
What a fine day this was... beading and listening to Pandora.  If you haven't yet done it, start a Rufus Wainwright station.  It was sooooo good to listen to Rufus and others!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What to do in an All Day Workshop

Yep, ya bead!
I was stuck indoors (it got up to 70 in Portland today!)   The workshop was very good... excellent speaker, nice videos, meaningful connections with colleagues... great!  I've taken beading projects to meetings before but always felt like I took up too much table space.  I have traveling a bead box but it's kind of big, 12"by12".  I was at the Container Store last week and saw these mini jewelry trays.  This one is 7.5" by 8.5"... which is about 7" by 8" of beading space.  We sat four to a table and the tables were SMALL.  I had my beading in front of me, sat in the front row, paid attention to the speaker, participated fully and didn't spill a single bead.  That's cool!  There were lots of knitters in the room and I didn't feel left out because my artsy, craftsy passion was cumbersome or took up too much space.  Not only did I learn what I needed to learn professionally, I also brought this home:
Yep, another triangle.  I made this one without the pattern, too.  I thought I put the pattern in my brief case, but when I went to grab it, nada.  I was pretty sure I could get one side finished without the pattern (from Kate and Dusty) but wasn't confident in the turn for the 3d look.  Surprise...I did it!  Isn't memory great?  Both sides, pattern in my head.  Not having pattern images in front of me and relying on muscle memory gave me some new insights into how this goes together.  Yes, I had to take out the turn a few times... but hey, that's what learning is about.  Very cool!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Beaded Bangle

Finished the Beaded Bangle (Marcia DeCoster design) last night.  Made a detour to my hometown, Spokane and didn't even pick up a bead while I was there.  Lots of FFF (Forced Family Fun) trumped beady times.  I picked up the incomplete Beaded Bangle yesterday as soon as I got unpacked.  It's amazing that as soon as I wrapped the beads around the armature all the wiggly-ness disappeared.  The colors are pretty and neutral and will look great with a new top I got at The LOFT last week.
I was having some trouble in the beginning but it turned out great!

Monday, October 10, 2011

New Software or Not?

I use my Macbook at work.  The rest of the office is on Windows machines.  Since Word is the preferred program, I have Word for mac, era 2004.  Now the problem is I want to download Lion, the newest operating system from Apple.  We have an IMac at home with Lion and it's cool.  Problem with Lion is that it can't support such an old version of Word.  I need to update to Word 2011.  That's $149... not a cheap fix.    I checked out downloading it online but chickened out because I'm just not sure.  Need one more day to think about it.
In the mean time, the beads are calling... I'm going to try to bead until I have to go back for a work meeting at 6:30.  Beads... take me away!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Right Angle Weave

I made a bracelet using RAW a few years ago.  I'm admittedly out of practice on the stitch.  I recently purchased Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence and I've had trouble getting the tension right on her Beaded Bangle.  The instruction and illustrations are fabulous and I know I'm okay on the beading path, etc.  The beads are two different sizes and I just haven't quite gotten the feel for it.  I know it'll just take some practice.  Here are my first two tries side by side... in the sample on the left, the tension is so tight it looks like Herringbone.  My latest try is on the right and that looks better but it feels pretty loose in my hands when I hold it.  The strip gets attached to an armature (which was fun to make).  When I put the strip around that base, it fits and looks pretty good, so I think I'm on the right track.  But I'll likely take another go at it and try to the beads to line up better.

RAW, not so good on the left, getting better on the right:)
After a very busy Sunday morning and a trip to the country for fresh-squeezed milk, it's so nice to settle down in my super comfy chair in the family room and bead.  Peter's reading and almost falling asleep, we just finished listening to Prairie Home Companion on OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting) and now... the rest of the day is dedicated to beads and quiet.  Life's pretty good!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Making Progress

What a week... so sad, Steve Jobs... he changed my life.  I love my intuitive Apple stuff.  Thanks, Steve.  Eternal rest and peace.
On a beady note:  I'm making progress on my beady space.  There are clear surfaces.  I think I may still need to purge some  stuff.  I'm not really liking the book shelves we brought up from the garage.  They have sentimental value because Peter's dad made them.  But he made them for his specific space, they were custom to his house and they are just a tad too high for my space and my taste.
Today Jill (daughter) and I made a trek out to the Container Store... I have the Elfa system in my beady space (love, love, love) and I wanted to a add a shelf or two but they quit making "birch' which is my flavor of shelf.  Bummer!!  So it's a work in progress.
More on that later.
Took away the TV that was in the corner, clear surfaces!

Monday, October 3, 2011

On Order

I've been on a cleaning kick lately... not the usual like the bathrooms and kitchen but the BIG stuff... the GARAGE and the JUNK drawers.  Stuff that hasn't been touched in years.  I took on the garage last week on a day off (took two days to complete.)  Peter came home to me in full-on "git 'er done" mode so he had no choice but to help out.  After we dug through stuff and sorted and tossed away lots of junk, we got huge shelves from Home Depot for storing the "keepers."  I ended up taking a load to Good Will and we took all the old paint to the recycling place.  Peter likes the new/improved space... he especially enjoys having more room to work on his (three) motorcycles and I like having more room for getting in and out of my car.  We've always been able to get both cars and the motorcycles in the garage... so I suppose it wasn't THAT bad... but now there is a bit more order in the former chaos.

Garage, after

I regularly straighten the beady place... I want to call it a studio but resist calling my space that, due to my inability to say I'm an artist (did I just write that?) and artist's have studios.   I'm not the best at picking up after every project (is anyone good at this?) but I do enjoy organizing the space when the mood strikes.  I love getting all the tiny beads separated and back in their tubular homes.  My little shovels and triangle thingies remind of doll accessaries and Monopoly game pieces.  They're tiny and feel cool in my fingers as I move the bitty instruments over the velvet pad in the beading tray, sorting, moving, sorting, tossing.  The beads grab onto the velvet and they all line right up, like first graders on their way to recess (there's always a straggler.)  It's been a while since I've taken charge of my beads.  Having several trays worth of leftovers,  last week I started to create some order out of chaos.  Then I got ideas about moving things around.  There were unused bookcases from the newly cleaned garage that needed a home, so I brought one into the beady space... I don't know if it will stay.  The ordering is still in progress... embarrassing as it is, here's before:
Beady Place, before

Now all this begs the question... what about order in my life?  Where are those places that need to be dug out and de-junked?  Work has been stressful.  Enough said.  Remember that Calgon-Take-Me-Away commercial?  I feel that beads and the creative process take me away... to a Zen place... a peaceful, creative, inspiring place!  I think better when I've taken time to bead... it's like exercise that way (except I don't like exercising until AFTER the work out)... I like, no LOVE the whole beady process... finding beads, figuring out patterns, and colors, colors, colors... love, love, love.  This week I shall bead every night!!  For fitness!  For the possibility of order in the midst of chaos...