Friday, September 26, 2008

September Update

I've been away for what seems like a lifetime. I went to my wirework class with Jelcy Romberg and went into overdrive. Yesterday I was in a hospital waiting room and making wire springs and getting all kinds of stares. Only 2 people actually came over and asked what on earth I was doing: making colourful springs to use in earrings and necklaces and bracelets and ...

I spent a day trying unsuccessfully to rest following Jelcy's all day class. Saturday saw me back at the Bead Oasis Show as a shopper and seminar attendee. I was surprised that there were not many people taking the time to sit in and learn. Happily I learned some new techniques.

Between the seminars I prowled the merchants' mall and visited friends. I had 4 highlights: 1: a fellow Jelcy classmate, Diana, ran into me and started a conversation. It was good to see her because I had learned she is a Vietnamese 'boatpeople': that sad time in the history of our world. She is doing well and starting up her bead collection.

2: at the end of my day, Jelcy saw me and stopped to chat. a) she remembered my name and b) I told her of the dickering around with 1 of the techniques she taught and a lightbulb switched on behind her eyes. She said she would play with my innovation.

3: Modesty forbids me to tell you what a friend of mine, Kirsty Naray, said about my logo being terrific and wonderful and with great colours ... I gotta say, I made that logo myself and have been fiddling with it. Kirsty's validation of my work means the world to me.

4: I met a young lady, Vanessa, she is 19 only, who has started her own business on the internet while she is studying psychology at University of Guelph. I am pretty sure the idea is to assist paying her tuition. Her product? Videos on techniques. Look at her Beads By U site.

I spent Monday and yesterday chauffeuring my elder sister to doctors and hospitals and well ... Soon there will be another day with her in doctors' offices.

This weekend I can be found putting in a rough floor in the new dining room (our enclosed balcony will be our new dining room). Then the layering of rugs and vaccuuming and moving heavy HEAVY furniture. And a day running errands.

And I'll not have touched a single bead and lovingly stringing and such. I admit to feeling a bit like an orphan, lost and alone in the world with nothing to soothe me. That means it's time for the good meds and a teddy bear and cool and dimly lit bedroom for several long naps. When I come out the other side I should be able to get my buddies, the beads, and do something creative.
And I still haven't finished my September cuff bracelet. Oh, dear, ...Helene

Saturday, September 13, 2008

September Notes - Cuff Bracelet Disaster

Well, my cuff bracelet success turned into disaster. I left it sitting overnight and picked it up yesterday afternoon. I began wrapping it with copper wire and

Yup, the wire exploded from its crimp beads and black beads went everywhere.

I was visibly upset. All that effort in getting it into a cuff shape and the pain I put myself through! Oh, my poor aching hands!!!!

I finally decided to change my design: 2 separate lengths of memory wire joined with beaded 'ribs.' And then, while I was crying on one of my forums, I got another idea.

And so, September will have 2 entries in the project: both cuff bracelets, both memory wire, both for the trip to Spain, both for my sister, Marg. When I told her she was well chuffed: one will be for everyday and the other will be for dress up. And that helped in the design of both: one for everyday and one for Sunday best.

Do you wanna see pics? Wander over to my other blog.

Now, while I know the entry with 2 separate pieces of memory wire won't explode, the other just might. I'm letting it alone for now. This is how I did it:
I put a loop at each end of the length. Then I twisted it around and held it in place by slipping one loop into the other. That gave the bracelet an asymetric shape: one end is curved and the loop end is pointy. It adds a new dimension to the shape that quite appeals to me.

What will I do to fill up the spaces of the cuff? The 1st is held together by ribs of beads and I will use my floss wrapped wood beads, coiled copper wire, black beads, and anything else that strikes me as I go along.

The 2nd will be the dress up bracelet. I woke up this morning dreaming about that cuff bracelet. Using wire, I am going to try some hardanger elements. I might add some perle cotton hardanger as well. I expect it won't be easy and my hands will scream at me but I think the finished product may be just the ticket.

So, what started as a disaster has ended with hope in my heart and a new design. It's great writing about it after the fact instead of mapping everything out at the beginning. I'm hoping the spontaneity of the design will shine through. ...Glass0...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September Notes - Cuff Bracelet Success

More waiting: I have to wait to the beginning of December before I can show pictures in this blog. I added pictures and began to discuss my latest achievement but then remembered I can't show any pictures here before the start of December.

If you recall, I have been crying over my poor hands being put through such memory wire torture. Then, truly in midst entry, I had a streak of inspiration: I would add beads to the memory wire, close up the form with crimp tubes, and tighten and shape the cuff bracelet with copper or silver or even maybe gold wire. Once this is finished I can add my wrapped beads.

The wrapped beads are not wire. They are wood beads that I have wrapped in embroidery floss. For embroiderers, you may recognize this as one of the techniques used in stumpwork. I wrote something here a bit earlier abour Jane Nicholas, Australian and brilliant stumpwork books.

This Spanish bracelet has only the slightest connection to Spain: certainly, I've used no technique attributable to Spain. Kind of like a string tied to a finger to remind you of something important, my sister requested a piece of artisan jewellery to act as a constant reminder; thereby allowing her to save money to finance her trip to Spain.

Now I know more about memory wire and in the future will find other means of creating cuff bracelets. My hands just aren't strong enough for the memory wire. Now I've tried it and can voice an opinion backed by my personal experience: I'll not use memory wire again. That's more than I knew in August.

By the way, if you'd like to see the pictures you can see my other blog. ...Glass0...

September Notes - Cuff Bracelet - Spain

Here is my effort with memory wire. Getting the bracelet to this phase has been murder on my poor arthritic hands but I got it done. The 'ring' is held together with 3 crimp beads - you can just see them at the bottom of the 1st picture, between 7 4mm black beads and the larger black/white round bead.

Still to be done is to add more wire to stabilize this cuff bracelet and finally to add my floss wrapped wooden beads. That's the fun stuff I have to look forward to (no, that isn't sarcasm).

This is the one that exploded in my face. I have nothing more to say to it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

September - 09 09 08

I am still energized by the project, don't get me wrong. But a subplot to this journal is to curtail my rash behaviours. I was so excited about my theme - jewellery - and I saw this as a great opportunity to try things I've not tried before.

Memory wire was made for people with far more strength and persistence than I have. I have developed a water blister on the palm side of my ring finger: the underside PIP joint ( I had a tough time with septic arthritis a couple of years ago so I ended up learning some 'medicalese'. The PIP is the Proximal Inter Phalangeal joint - the knuckles closest to your hand. Pretty good, huh?

Well, I've not been wearing my rings lately so that didn't play into this blister. Two days and evenings working with memory wire and pliers is what killed me. My hands ache terribly but the results are disappointing.

The question I ask myself is: 'is this suffering worth it?' And the answer is a resounding "NO!" And so I retreat from the field of memory wire, not beaten but certainly wiser.

I am quite content to let others use the memory wire. As for me, I will put all thoughts of memory wire out of my head. Unfortunately, I have an unopened package of silver memory wire that I won't be using===

Stop the presses!! I just had a thought about memory wire. I will give it another shot but this time using beads as the edging instead of wire wrapping directly on the memory wire.

Does this mean I've just grown a bit?? I'll let you know. ...G0B (Glass 0 Beads)...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Notes to Self - Translate a Post

Do you want to read a blog in translation from the original into English? Or English into your language? BJP bloggers write in their own language and it's kinda neat to read a blog entry translated from their language to yours.
It can be done and Google has a tool to get it done.
The translation isn't as good as it could be but it is good enough to understand what is being written.
And reading the translations draws us closer together: not just as beaders, but more importantly as people. Fear is dispelled by knowledge and reading in translation is a step towards that knowledge. It makes the world a friendlier place.
At least, that's what I think. ...Glass0...

Notes to Self - Beads in Embroidery

If you are an embroiderer who wants to learn how to add beads to your work, there's a new book out that explains how. If you are an experienced bead embroiderer, you'll find a lot to inspire you in the pages of well photographed images.

I found this book, The Art of Bead Embroidery, in the October 2008 issue of Bead and Button's magazine. It is written by Heidi Kummli and Sherry Serafini and published by Kaumbach Books. The instructions are clear and are accompanied by photographs of each project.

Knock yourself out!! Let your fingers and your mind get some exercise as you work through the techniques. ...Helene...

Make Your Own - Crimp Beads

Look what I found: it's in the October '08 issue of Bead and Button magazine. How to make your own crimp beads. You understand why that is so exciting, don't you? It means you can bead into the wee hours of the night and not worry about having crimp beads. You can make your own.

It's all thanks to Melody McDuffee's work with the Krobo people of Ghana, West Africa, in the Soul of Somanya project. You'll find the instructions in Bead and Button, October 2008 edition: Wirework - Quick Crimps.

I've tried her method: it's easy AND it works. And all you need is wire, a hammer, chain nose pliers. That's it, that's all, that's everything.

The article that accompanies the technique is interesting: offering a skill and a market, the Krobo people of Ghana are becoming self-supporting.

If you give a fish to a starving man, he will eat 1 meal: but, if you teach a starving man how to catch the fish, he and his family will eat for a lifetime. Well, the same principle applies to the Krobo bead makers: they are learning a trade that will sustain themselves and their families for a lifetime.

You can contact Melody at (251) 342-9076, visit the website '', ', or email her at '

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Too Hot to Bead !!?

Can you BELIEVE I wrote that ?!? It has been a beautiful summer day today but as the afternoon wore on it became muggy. Then, after dark, it started to rain. And I was sitting under a work lamp that gives off a fair amount of heat. I had the fan on and my sister took pity on me and turned on the air as well. Still, I was getting very damp just sitting there.

However, I have been able to spend the night making my fingers hurt and discovering the pleasures? of memory wire and copper wire and beads. After almost 5 hours I took a closer look at the template I was trying to copy from memory a wire wrapping technique.

It was all in the attempt to educate myself in the ways of memory wire - I want to use it in my sister's Spain bracelet - my September project.
That bracelet has to be easy to put on and take off because it shouldn't get wet. The Spain Bracelet has wooden beads wrapped with embroidery floss and if the floss gets wet it will turn ratty right away. As it is, it's going to take a beating.
This afternoon we visited a hospital lottery dream home in Oakville. It was gigantic and, of course, professionally decorated. It had a pool table games room and a private media room and so many bathrooms that we would need a maid to look after it all. There was a huge kitchen and a butler's pantry.
Then we picked up some meds for me and other odds and ends. We wandered through Ikea, that was our mall crawl, and that got us to almost dinner time. My sister suggested Red Lobster and I had to remind her she wanted to go to Spain. Oh, yeah, we are also starting a way of life involving fewer calories (I refuse to call it a diet). All good reasons not to go to Red Lobster. Right?
Then I wavered.
We had a big salad and the fattest thing in the salad was cheese and the dressing (lo cal). Weren't we good girls?
The heart is black beads with copper wire - the technique source. All the others are purply beads - one of the new fall season colours ( along with mustard and royal blue ).
Are you getting mixed up with my conversation? It used to be called 'stream of conscious' writing - scribbling down whatever you were thinking regardless neither of the disparity nor of the order of the thoughts.
Well, Marg had to put the money she might have spent at Red Lobster into her 'Going to Spain' piggy bank.
And I am going to bed and turn on my fan.
Good night to each and every one of you Happy Beaders. ...Glass0 ...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Worries and Frustrations Pt 2

Okay, laugh heartily. I am.
Good ole a2Susan and Shebaduhcat. They laid it out for me in very gentle terms. Thank you ladies.
So, here goes.

For September: I am working on a bracelet for my sister. She wants to visit Spain but, like all of us, the money isn't there yet. So she asked me to make her a Spain bracelet to wear when she goes shopping. Feeling it on her wrist is like a string on a finger: it will remind her that she has a choice - either purchase the perfect pair of shoes/purse/... OR use the money for a trip to Spain.

I am wrapping wood beads in embroidery floss in the colours she says puts her in mind of Spain. Deep reds, burnt orange, yellows and blues. Happiness for me, I like those colours so wrapping the beads is no problem.

Where will I be stretched? Putting all those wee floss wrapped wood beads in some kind of order to make an attractive bracelet. Do I make each wrapped bead hang from a chain, as on a charm bracelet?

No, I think I'll do something more structural to feed my need for layers of texture. And I need it to be on gold tone wire. Do I add a watch face? Maybe.

That's what I think. ...Glass0...

Worries and Frustrations

I have come to the end of a project in my other blog and feel that letdown feeling like after you finish a good book. I know what I want to do for my next project there - some designing exercises. While I am looking forward to getting started on that, I have put it in the back seat. You see, I really have my tastebuds ready for this Bead Journal Project 08 monthly topic.

Now, you know what it's like when your wishes are not immediately granted: the agony of waiting that ensues. Well, right now I am in agony - oh, you should know that I am an 'instant gratification' kinda girl.

And I'm feeling a bit lonely out here in the cold. I don't know how to find out what the month's topic is to be. I just assumed it would be easy to find - in my inbox? no; on the and more... blog as an announcement? no; maybe on the main site Bead Journal no.

I am making myself unhappier by the minute. Did I mention the patience gene is missing in my DNA?

I hope somebody will come along and through this poor ole dog a bone. Soon.

That's what I think - Helene