Thursday 27 September 2012

A heavenly parking lot in Kingman, AZ...

I've read about this, but from the '70s, and of course I never bookmarked it. My pal Lynn in Arizona sent me this picture yesterday and gave me permission to publish it. Can you imagine a turquoise parking lot? It's true.

Here's a bug's eye view to reeeeally get the full effect that, yes, this is turquoise...

Just wow...

Okay, back to my typing. Thanks for looking.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Cleaning up my workspace & bead organisation...

Yes, a long silence -- many apologies. I have been typing like a mad fiend for months, and every week I think just get to the end of this week and I'll have time to breathe... then more files come flying over the virtual transom. I'm swamped now until next Wednesday.

However, in the meantime, in preparation for a massive sort and pricing of the huge turquoise order on its way that I'll be offering at the Grand River Bead Society show (Guelph, October 27th & 28th), as well as another large bead order from Nelson Gemstones, I have been cleaning up the front room where I do all of my work. Note that this means my junk room out back is filling up even more, so I'm not so very virtuous. Years ago I discovered the worth of having a dedicated junk room -- but with decent functional shelving so things are more or less accessible and off the floor.

Remember the 5-Minute Manager concept from... the late '80s or early '90s? I learned one thing: handle everything once. Then there was a cleaning/clutter-busting tip from somewhere: keep stuff off the floors and rooms will automatically appear much tidier. Now if I could just STOP covering every flat surface with a foot of all that stuff from the floors... and PAPER. I hate paper. Whatever happened to that old saw that computers would do away with paper? Phhht. What I can't figure out how to deal with is the out-of-sight, out-of-mind conundrum. I'm forever putting things in "logical" places, but then they are lost forever as my logic defies... everything.

My pal Lynn (who will very shortly be offering her organisation services to all of you virtually via Skype and I'm the guinea pig) helped me do a massive cleaning yesterday (all 1/4 of my front room, whoo hoo, but progress nonetheless) -- she likes to clean and she ordered me to keep going, telling me that when she gets started she can't stop (very weird, I know). I did all the moving stuff around, the sweeping and mopping: we were a cleaning machine. Then we went to the dollar store and I got some more shallow semi-see-through bins.

This organising by shallow bin seems to be the way to go for me. I tried doing the hanging-beads-in-order-of-colour-on-a-grid next to my table the way many of my online pals do and who post pictures of their studios and working methods, but I've found I can't work that way. It may be that the bin method I've come up with will become bead soup (this truly was the breakthrough for me) writ large and yet be physically somewhat organised: I figured out that to make something I have to see what I have jumbled up and see random patterns and colour, rather than see the strings all laid out, essentially fixed to the wall, thence to deliberately put colours together in my mind. I need serendipity. It may be that with all my strings in bins sorted by colour only, showing multiple textures and graduations of that colour, that I can then I can put bins of complementary and split complementary side by side and fine tune after that.

If nothing else, I finally can see all the beads I have and stop buying duplicates. Slowly, slowly, progress is being made:

Phht... who has time to watch television anyway?

The contents of this grid shelf ended up on the floor (gack) in the bedroom closet. I was thinking that I could hang some strings from the front of the shelves, as well...

How do you work?

Big show coming up, if you're anywhere close by: the annual Ancaster Gem Show is this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 28, 29 and 30th. I'm not sure -- check before you drive out, but I believe the Friday is for school groups. Lots of fossils and dinosaur bones and raw crystal formations along with beads galore and finished jewellery.

Thanks for looking.

Sunday 16 September 2012


Even though I am in the throes of proofing a huge job due tomorrow morning at 9 a.m., I have to post these pictures. I have an obsession with slouch socks dating back 30 years when The Bay used to sell 100% cotton slouch socks in all colours of the rainbow made by the late lamented (by me, anyway) Paquette's Mill in Woodstock of all places, and which are almost impossible to find nowadays. What is WITH those super tight, super skinny socks that cut off circulation and leave great honking marks around one's ankles??? For me, socks must at a minimum be loose, especially at the top.

They have to be warm at the business end, non-sweat-inducing which just makes your feet cold anyway, definitely not itchy, not floppy large feet -- I have narrow feet -- as well as machine washable. I have lately become a fan of the hand-cranked washable wool socks which I occasionally get for Christmas from my brother out on Malcolm Island. Those ones are just about perfect on all counts -- I am a fiend for stripes -- but there's no slouch. For the past year Crazy for Socks have been vendors at the Woodstock Farmers Market. We've been working on the slouch factor and I think they've nailed it.

This colour combo is Fiesta and that's all slouch, not my fat legs, and skinny in the feet. Whoo hoo! Order yours (well, maybe not Fiesta, I think my socks used it all up, but they have all kinds of wonderful colour combos and plain, hand-dyed, and merino, etc.) from Crazy For Socks and tell them I sent you. Btw, for all you knitters and weavers out there, they are the driving force behind the annual Woodstock Fleece Festival coming up on Saturday, October 13. They have real sheepses there! and a zillion vendors!

And, since everyone knows how fashion forward and into colour coordination I am, I finally found a source for a beautiful purply-purple 10/0 seed bead (a good purple being virtually non-existent in opaque seed beads, as anyone into seed beads knows; green, too) and today I finally got the light orange or medium orange seed beads, also next to impossible to find, I've been searching everywhere for and which I use a lot of with turquoise seed beads. They match my socks! It makes my colour-coordinated heart all warm and fuzzy. Emilie Corbiere of Red Road Publishing makes beautiful jewellery. After running into her on LinkedIn the other day -- which is turning into an amazing place to "meet" people -- we met in person today at the Turtle Island Festival which was held at the Crawford Lake Conservation Area near Milton. Gorgeous, gorgeous blue sky fall day, with barely a whisp of cloud to be seen. I will be writing more about her children's books later.

Finally, the skullzzzzzzzzzzzz... I had ordered lots and lots of strings of skulls from Nelson Jewelry and Gemstones, you can see them there, lurking on the right, and here is what I did with them yesterday. The joy of having lots of strings of a single bead and colour is that I don't have to agonise over what will be the best use of a few precious beads. Make this, try that, ooooh, that's cool -- make more... Oh, and these beads have 1.5mm holes in them, perfect for stringing on 1.5mm Greek leather.

That skull chakra necklace was just screaming to be made... so I did.

I made a pile of these adjustable bracelets, all different colours and single colours, but the batteries ran out of juice before I could photograph them all -- sold 'em anyway. I can make more.

Howlite skull bracelets, $8; chokers, $15 and up.
Socks, you're on your own, email Crazy for Socks. Prices will vary with the yarn type and size.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday 6 September 2012

A thought about sites like Pinterest... and Nelson Gemstones

I wonder if Pinterest or similar sites have taken off in other countries like it has in the US? I wonder if there's a correlation between the high level in North America of "shopping culture" and other countries where consumerism, for various reasons, hasn't taken root? I find I'm using Pinterest as a substitute for shopping-shopping and also for bead shopping at the moment. Appeases my hunter-gatherer instincts. Certainly I can afford to hoard much nicer pictures of things than I could ever afford to buy, at least in this lifetime.

Any thoughts on this?

But I did buy these... and they showed up two days ago. Got 'em from Nelson Gemstones. Joanne's got quality gemstones in most of the sizes of rounds for most of the popular stones, as well as her own jewellery. My order was her first time shipping to Canada and any form-filling-out bugs were successfully dealt with. Also, back orders are processed very quickly. Worth checking out especially if you're looking for those elusive sequential rounds.

Mmmmmmmmmmm lapis...

Thanks for looking!