Thursday, July 03, 2014

Bead & Button 2014 - Part 2

I won’t be hushed, I won’t be shushed.
But what I say I saw I saw.
I know my rights, I know the law!

I love it when I walk through the hotel corridors and see people that I have met through the years due to assisting Marcia – and they seem happy to see me.  I invaded breakfast one morning with Nancy and Mary – both from Chicago.   Mary even signed up for one of my classes – Princess Maya.

Later that evening there was a small gathering of mostly seed bead instructors, which was a huge blast.  We laughed and cried, shared secrets and lies; and told stories.  For me it was one of the highlights of the week.  Shout out to Jayshree Paramesh who brought henna “paint” for us!  So cool!

Saturday evening was the coveted TOHO party where I was Marcia’s guest.  It’s held at the Intercontinental Hotel, just a short walk away.  It’s a very nice event, with nice goodie bags.  What a nice group of people are at this event.

And Julie (you know who you are) wants the down and dirty gossip from Bead and Button – let’s see:  

·        I was called into the principal’s office
·        I called someone a bad name
·        I called someone else a bad name
·        I ate roasted garlic the night before a class.  No one complained (they could be all dead, though)
·        I swore in Arabic and Ming (from California) tried to teach me bad words in Chinese
·         I introduced myself to someone who I am FB friends with and he looked at me like I was from another planet and had no clue who I was (okay, lets me know that he doesn’t read my FB posts cause I do look like my pictures)
·        I was introduced to the same woman for about the 6th time and I still don’t think she knows who I am (I have given up saying that we have met before)
·        I (along with two other beaders who I was chatting with) witnessed a woman tripping over the power cord taped to the floor of the second floor convention center to turn on one light bulb in a display (she went down hard). Fortunately one of the women I was with is a nurse and took control until security showed up. 
·        Even better?  Security tripped over the same cord!!  We made certain she was okay, filled out my witness report (including the fact that the guard tripped on the same cord).  The next day, the cord was GONE.

All of my classes went extremely well, my students were great, took my sense of humor with a grain of salt.  Projects went well with only a few little hiccups in the instructions.And then it was over.  I can’t wait for next year!

This might be the best picture from the show!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Bead and Button Week – June 2014 – part 1

Bead and Button Week – June 2014 – part 1

This year Bead &Button was a whirlwind of activity as I was a faculty member for the first time!  That was exciting enough for me, but I decided to take the journey to Milwaukee early so that I could have some good girlfriend time with Janice, Tracy and Marcia.

Traveling is always an experience that I enjoy.  This year was no different.  Leaving the train station in Dearborn (thanks Tom for dropping me off at an ungodly early hour), I was very excited.  Remind me next year (should I be selected for classes) that I need to only travel with ONE suitcase!  The train pulled into Chicago when things became interesting.  The train that was earlier than mine was missing!!  Short version – I was put on a tour bus, very comfy, and took the bus north to Milwaukee.  The best part of it was that I was able to snooze on the bus!

I loved rooming with Janice and Tracy – I don’t think that we could stop talking if we had to.  It had been a year since we were together and it worked really well.  Of course, Tracy and I had seen each other at Beading by the Bay in March – that was our practice rooming together!  Dinner that evening with our Marcia made it even better!  We were joined by Anne Mitchell and Beki and Shawn Haley of Whim Beads.

Photo by Anne Mitchell
Tuesday was my hang out and relax day.  I didn’t have any classes scheduled so I had breakfast with Beki and Shawn, I surprised Marcia with coffee (we talked about it last night with Tracy and Janice).  Marcia sent me a text with her order as a joke, so of course I had to get it for her.  Love my Marcia.  While in her classroom, I met several beaders that I have known over the years through her classes and some new friends, including Helena Tang-Lim from Manek-Manek Beads.  She has a great eye for color and has designed some awesome pieces of beadwork.  While chatting with Helena, I met Sunyoung Park-Hoffman (of Ezel Findings, maker of a great new travel bead mat) and her sister (who traveled from Korea!).

I was able to hang out with many friends for a while at the “Gathering Place” and see Mandi and her friend Ralonda, spend some quality time with Nikia and view the fabulous Crown Rings – they are stunning and I can’t wait for the pattern to be released!  Stunning, stunning, stunning (Should I say that again?).  I was a little disconcerted to see what appeared to be someone teaching one of her kits in the Gathering Place.  I hope what I saw was that they just decided to all do the same kit at the same time, but that’s certainly not what it looked like. 

Janice sketching at lunch.
I ran into Sabine Lippert and Claudia Schumann who invited me to lunch with them.  We had a nice time chatting about everything and nothing (and thank you again for my soda!).  Janice and I both had some free time during the day and managed to meet for a late lunch/early dinner and we decided on sushi from Kiku – which is walking distance from the convention center and the hotel.  It’s so good there!!  Unfortunately, it’s not the best looking place, but the food is good, it was quiet and cool.

My first B&B teaching of Dalal’s Dream was that late afternoon and I had 9 students.  It was a really good experience for me to have such good students; everyone was having a good time and looking forward to “Meet the Teachers” that evening.  It was a rush to break down class at 7am, rush to the convention center, and set up by 8pm.  I managed to do it quickly, steal some hugs from friends, and be back in place.  Since I didn’t have a stock of items to sell, I didn’t try and just have things to sell – I made the conscious decision to just meet people.  It was a great experience - I met so many people, received hugs and good wishes - it was so nic.

Amy Blevins rocking out with the tiara

Meet the Teachers exhibit with the Taj Mahal, bead embroidered purse,
along with the Tiara and matching necklace

Beading by the Bay 2014 - Part 2

We woke again in San Francisco, and this was going to be a great day!  Major site seeing was planned.  After a nice breakfast and packing, we once again figure how to pack our mini van and off we drove.  Dot did an excellent job of maneuvering through the streets of San Francisco and over the bridge we went.  Our first stop was Marin Headlands on the north side of the Golden Gate bridge!

This was a great spot for photos of the San Fran skylines and the bridge.  Well, except that the sun was shining when we got there, but the fog rolled in.  And FAST.

Dot is looking for the top of this monster tree.  This picture really shows how large they are.
Following our quick stop at the bridge, we drove north to Muirwoods National Forest to see the Redwoods!  This has been a great visit for me and crossing off items of the bucket list (crossing Golden Gate Bridge – Check!  Redwood Forest – Check!).  We waited in the parking lot for our last member to join us! Beki Haley of Whim Beads, who doesn't live very far from Muirwoods.  
Front: Liz, Sue, Tracy
Back: Cyn, Dot, Sharon
Not seen:  Beki (taking picture)
We wandered down the meandering path in awe of these beautiful giant trees.  The further removed from the parking lot, the quieter the noises became almost as if the trees were absorbing the sound.  These trees are massive, and not even the largest redwoods in California.  If my Dawn Redwood in the garden grows to 1/5 of their size, that is going to be a large tree.

A quick drive north and west of there brings us out to the coast and Stin, where Beki prepared a wonderful picnic lunch.  It's funny - the northern girls (Dot, Sue and I) thought the weather was wonderful.  Sharon, who now lives in Tucson, was freezing.  And Cyn, Beki and Tracy (California and Seattle) thought "Oh, jeesh, rain again"!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

I give you the "Taj Mahal"

Well, I certainly took my time with this piece.  From what I can tell I have been working on the Taj Mahal on and off for just under 5 years, yes - 5 years.  Why so long?  Other pieces kept getting in the way, but I needed to finish this.

I love the pictures I have seen of the Taj Mahal and was inspired to work on it from those pictures.  Several of my favorite residents from over the years are originally from India (giving me the inspiration also for Ganesha, another bead embroidered piece) and what better way to acknowledge the changes in my life due to them.

August 2009 through May 2014
I shouldn't feel so bad that it took so long.  The original Taj Mahal took over 20 years to build, and includes marble from around the world.

You can see progress photos of this work through time by visiting the link here:

The Taj Mahal started construction in 1632 after Mumtaz Mahal died during the birth of her 14th child.  The Emperor Shah Jahan described the Taj Mahal:

Should guilty seek asylum here,

Like one pardoned, he becomes free from sin.

Should a sinner make his way to this mansion,
All his past sins are to be washed away.
The sight of this mansion creates sorrowing sighs;
And the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes.
In this world this edifice has been made;
To display thereby the creator's glory.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Beading by the Bay 2014 - Part 1

On March 3rd, the San Francisco area was invaded by G’nomes from around the country:  Sue and Liz from SE Michigan, Dot from southern Ohio, Tracy and Cyn from Seattle, and Sharon from Tucson (joined later in the week by Beki from California and Lisa from Chicago).  Of course, I wore my tiara on a leg of the flight as I was "tempted" by friends to do it.
Liz and Sue en flight
Caught me coming out of the ladies room

As flights from the country were coming at different times, the first wave of G’nomes had lunch in a lovely little restaurant in Burlingame by the SFO airport.  Liz introduced Bibimbap to Sharon, and a wonderful luncheon (who uses that word any more?) was had by all, with promises to have dinner here later in the week.

Once Tracy (who flew from Seattle via Las Vegas - not a very direct flight) arrived, we drove our rental G'nome-mobil (which has a wine cellar or "Stow and Go" seating)
to downtown San Francisco to the Opal Hotel, which is on the border of two neighborhoods – the Tenderloin and Japan Town.  It was a nice, older hotel; small rooms, but enough for our group of six to share two rooms.  Our room did not have a closet, but a nice wardrobe which looked like something out of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” books.  I didn't venture into it to see if it went to another world.  The room was on the front of the hotel, which is on Van Ness street and not unnecessarily noisy.  Beds were clean and comfy, although the pillows could stand an upgrade.  The lobby was clean and spacious, and the provided breakfast was more than adequate.   Secure parking was a great find in the city!
The Wine Cellar in the rental

True, the hotel is in a less than savory part of town, but if you keep your senses about you, walk in groups and just be aware of your surroundings, you should be fine.  Polk Street looked a little less desirable than Geary, so we avoided it.  Parking lot was small, but just at the back of the hotel, but locked and secure.
Our first day, we walked from the hotel down to Union Square (and right passed the Hotel California) to Britex fabrics which was Dot’s dream fabric store.  I found a bin of leathers for clearance prices which was great.  Following that, we tried to get on the cable cars, but they weren't in service (found out later, they were down all day – what a disappointment).  
Dot and Cyn get in the spirit!

We managed to get on the correct street car and get down to Fisherman’s wharf where most of the day was spent walking around.  Lunch was at Fog Harbor and it was wonderful!  
Lunch at Fog Harbor on Fishermans Wharf
Sue, Liz, Tracy, Cyn, Dot and Sharon

Sharon had an ice cream sundae at Ghirardelli’s which was not shared (don’t get between Sharon and her ice cream).  After trying to determine to get back uptown without the cable car, we managed to get on the correct street car going back up the hills of San Francisco, and to the downtown shopping area.  Sharon, Dot and Sue did some damage in the Unicol store for themselves and family 

Walking back to the hotel was not going to be an option for us in an unsavory neighborhood (why be stupid - we could have walked, but that wasn't the smart thing to do), but I managed to figure out the correct bus, confirm it with a woman who was getting on the bus and it dropped us right at the corner of Geary and Van Ness (bus 32L if you need to know).  Brava!

Stay Tuned for part 2!

Monday, November 11, 2013

I've been accepted!!

With urging from my friend Marcia (you know which one) DeCoster, I have been applying to teach at the Bead & Button show in Milwaukee for a couple of years.  We co-taught one year (2011) with Marcia's "Under the Mast II" - which featured Marcia's Under the Mast pattern and I added some 39ss rivolis at the bottom.  So, I applied with peer pressure to teach again in 2012 and 2013 with no luck.  So here was Liz singing the"no one loves me, everyone hates me" song,

Until this year when three of my projects were accepted for 5 classes!!  I was completely stunned, elated, surprised, relieved and scared.

My project "Dalal's Dream", named for one of the most kind women that I know, has been accepted for two three sessions.  I developed this class in late 2010 and have taught it a couple of times at Stony Creek Bead.  I chuckle over this one, because I thought about adding it at the last minute - I wan't going to submit it at all.  I am scheduled to teach this class on Wednesday - June 4, Friday - June 6th (both in the evening) and Sunday - June 8th (in the morning).

The "Princess Maya" pendant (yes, named after Marcia's beloved little dog) really shows how I have been influenced by Marcia.  I really love this pendant and have made several versions of this piece.  "Princess Maya" will be taught on Thursday, June 5th.

I also submitted what I have named the "Tzarina Pendant" - I wish that I could have come up with a better name, but that's what it will be now!  I am excited to teach this one as I believe it's one of the best pieces that I have designed.  I love being inspired by royal jewelry!  I am scheduled to teach this class on Saturday, June 7th.

While I am excited at the prospect of teaching at such an influential bead show, I am also saddened that because I am teaching, I won't be able to help Marcia at her classes and visit with the many friends that I have made through helping her over the last - seven?? - years.  On the other hand, since they know me, they might be happy to take my offerings. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

“To Write or Not to Write; that is the Question”

Over the years, many friends (FB and real) have asked me why I don’t write a book.  I have been thinking about this for some time, and it’s been in the back of my mind, with notes and ideas brewing.   Carol Dean Sharpe just posted on FB that she is declining to write a book of her projects and why she declined; with some very valid reasons.  But with all I have seen and heard from many people over the years, I don’t know if I am ready or willing to do this.

My other thought has been to open an “Etsy” store and sell individual patterns (such as Carol Dean does).  I could write patterns with a logo that would be my “book title”, all would have the same look (which has yet to be developed) and feel.

With CD’s comment that she makes “x” dollars a pattern, and a book of $20 would be less than her “x” dollar amount really made me stand up and take notice.  Selling a book and earning less than what I conceivably could earn individually isn't a responsible decision.  I don’t need to shortchange myself in the potential wallet when it seems that everyone is writing beading books.  We do have a beading book plethora (and while many of the books are wonderful and now live at my house, a few shouldn't have bothered).  While it would be fun to envision my name in print on a book – it doesn't change who I am, what I bead and what I design.

With this decision, I need to now look at drawing/design programs, learn the software and continue to write patterns as I move forward.  I know it will be a big learning curve – I wonder if my hospital has access to any software I can use?

Now that I have addressed this in my head, talked with a Kalmbach book editor, and discussed with friends who have given me good and sensible advice (without even realizing that they were giving me advice), I am comfortable with my decision.

I just need to start writing and publishing my patterns, design a look that I like, submit patterns to the magazines, learn a computer program to help draw my images, and as stated in the Nike advertisements – “Just Do It”

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bead & Button Annual Report 2013 – “We are kind of a big deal”

I love going to the Bead & Button show in Milwaukee every year.  I love seeing people that I haven’t seen in a year – people that I enjoy talking with and also making new beady friends.  Here are some of my highlights:

This was a special year at the Bead & Button show in Milwaukee.  My friend and mentor, Marcia DeCoster, was selected to give a “Master Class” in the field of seed beads and used the theme “Playing with Possibilities.”  Since last October several groups of beading assistants have been beading a playground of five components for the participants to use during the Master Class.  There was friendly banter between many women that I have know in a classroom setting for the last several years and getting to know them just a little better in a three day session was really nice.  It was wonderful to see the variety of designs that were put together with all the participants – some very new and original.  Even though I had been beading these components since last fall, it was refreshing to see them again with “new” eyes.
Tracy and I have a hard cider - thank you to Marcia for the picture.
I loved seeing good friends, Janice Berkebile and Tracy Stanley – it’s always a laugh or three or eight with them.  Janice – don’t forget to send me the picture of our collaboration project (hint, hint).  This is going to be fun.  New friend, Gabriella von Diepen, who I met through Marcia, is so friendly and personable, that she fits right in with our crowd.  Gabriella also rocked an award in the Bead Dreams Competition with her mask which won third place.  Way to go, girl!

We had lovely meals at our usual table in the Hilton Chop House – the Chop salad is pretty tasty, and the lobster mac and cheese is to die for.  Our favorite bartender, David, has moved on to his own restaurant called “The Noble” just south of downtown Milwaukee (if you are looking for a new place to try, this is a good one and you have to try Mom’s Butter Cake for dessert).  Marcia and I walked to a sushi/Japanese/fusion restaurant in The Third Ward called Kanpai and had a wonderful dish of Bibimbap – one of my favorite Korean dishes.  I wonder if I found the stone bowls on Ebay, would it be the same.  I had a nice dinner with the European group at Calderone’s – Sabine, Elke, Martina, Petra, Sian, Lyn, Gabriella, Marcia and I.

What did I notice at the show?  Steam punk seems to be dead in the water – there were hardly any booths featuring this.  Remember for the last few years, the ceramic little Peruvian animals that many vendors have had?  I think that I saw one vendor and they were on clearance.  Pearls are still huge, many sizes and styles of Chinese crystals dazzled the eyes, but I stayed away.  Fish leather continues to be popular – from $15 to $21 a piece.  One vendor with fish leather also had sting ray leather which looked awesome, but it wasn’t priced.  You know if you have to ask, I can’t afford it.  Crystals – vintage crystals is again what I found to tempt me the most.  There were two vendors with stock that I loved.

Thank you to Maria Rypan for taking the photo
On Thursday night was a “Meet the Teachers” event, which is many of the instructors under one roof, featuring their different work.   Marcia had prepared a tunic for me to wear this year, which was so special!  Marcia used Hot Fix Swarovski crystals to put “The Bad Liz” on the back of the tunic.  What fun!  I posted on Facebook that I remembered going through “Meet the Teachers” the first time and being very in awe of everyone and their work, too timid to talk with the instructors and the size of the crowd.  This year, it was surprising to see how many instructors that I personally know and how many of them know me (and remember my name).  This night, I not only rocked my tunic, but I had on my crystal and seed bead tiara.  Every Elizabeth needs a tiara…

There was also a social gathering of many instructors one evening – it was just a special way to get to know everyone just a little better – more than just a Facebook interface.  I knew many of the instructors via classes from the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild and from my many years of going to the Bead & Button show.  Some of the instructors were new acquaintances and it was so nice to put a real face to them.  It was really a wonderful evening and hopefully a new tradition at the show.
All in all, I have to say that this might have been the best show, even though there were NO celebrity sightings…