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…

Monday, April 15, 2013

Finding Cool Clothes (or Alfred Dunner Hell)

Being a "plus" size woman, I first need to find the appropriate department in a "Big Box" store.  Once found, I usually shake my head at the location: between Petites and Fitness (at least at my Macy's and Kohl's) - it's usually tucked in the back corner of the store, by returns.  Whose bright marketing idea was that?

Once looking through the racks and being struck smack in the face with "Alfred Dunner" hell:  Oh gods, I hate those clothes....
I understand that some women love these clothes - I must not have those genes 
  • Embroidered necklines (how the heck can someone wear an art necklace with this neckline??)
  • Elastic waist tapered pants (and sadly I know someone who still wears these?)
  • Caribbean resort wear with drinks or flamingos
  • Horizontal stripes - in plus size clothes?  WTF?  (Just stab me in the eye)
  • Embroidered kittens chasing butterflies on the front of the sweatshirt with the picot lace on the collar
  • Stripes with an overlaying print
  • Flowered necklines
Why is it so hard to find cool, artsy clothes at a reasonable price for women?

I have found a few items here and there that are funky and hip.  With a tagword of "lagenlook" I have found some really nice ideas to look for.
In one of my fav pieces, I wore it on a cruise and at a graduation ceremony (and I am still shorter than Dr. Salami) and now to work on a regular basis
The above tunic is from one of my favorite places right now is from Coco and Juan - reasonable cost and quality that will wear well - but at the price, I can replace it in a couple of years.

What are some of your favorite place to shop for fun, funky, reasonably priced clothing? 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Beading by the Bay part Dieux

Beading by the Bay was and will continue to be one of the highlights of 2013.  I have wonderful memories and I am so fortunate to be part of this great groups of beaders (even though Huib Petersen's class kicked my beading butt).  In the evenings, as I sit in my studio and bead after 9 hours at the hospital, my eyes are distracted by some of the goodies that we received at the retreat.

Books!  We received books again this year from Lark Publishing - one was "Making Wire & Bead Jewelry:  Artful Wirework Techniques."  I was so excited when I saw this book that I might have squealed outloud.  Another book was Ray Hemachandra's "Showcase 500 Beaded Jewlery" which is part of the 500 series.  I especially like this book because I know so many wonderful artists who are featured in this book and a good handful were at the BBTB. Now if I would have remembered to have them sign their pieces in the book, this would become a priceless part of my book collection, however, I thought of that when I got home. It’s a wonderful book and I love it.

The door prizes donated by Swarovski Elements are wonderful. I received a set of six boxes of Swarovski collections – elements that work together by color or texture. It’s so wonderful that I am just looking at everything now – not even using them. But I will. I can’t let these crystals sit in boxes for years. They would get so lonely.  Spread on the tables at the dessert reception was an array of wonderful crystals of all sizes, shapes, colors and oh, the sparkle….

At our table, we were very organized and polite about it. To make the magic last even longer, we took turns picking out what we like and wanted. First we put what we coveted in front of each of us. It was easy as we all wanted something different. I wanted two oval crystals that will be a pair of earrings in the near future. Cyn wanted some pearls. So Cyn, Jules, Dot, Sharon, Sue, Beki and I all picked our favorites out of what was on the table – other beaders were laughing at us, but we enjoyed it and had fun.

The final picture is of the "Wild Girls" as Marcia has called us or the "G'nomes" that Cyn Bicker has named us. I used photoshop to add Dot to the picture (as she was behind the camera but belongs in it). From the left - Sue, Liz, Lisa, Cyn, Sharon (barely visible), Beki (hiding), Jules, and Dot

Not to change the subject, but  BBTB and BBTB are the same.  One is “Beading By the Bay” and the other is “Bitchen’ Biker Turkey Buzzards” which has been a beading group on the internet for more than 10 years. Is this a coincidence? Or pre-determined by the gods? Ancient Alien connection? Perhaps a little of all of the above….

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How do we get where we are at?

Have you ever wondered how you got to where you are in life? How little decisions can change the whole path of who you are and where you are now and where you might be going. Behind the knowing where you are going, is the trail of how you got to where you are now.
Me? I work at a hospital, I get to tell doctors what to do (sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t – that’s their path and I need to stop worrying about what they do). I also create art with tiny little pieces of glass, crystal and thread. How did I get here? Let’s see if I can trail back through my life to the beginning of me. Let’s say to the beginning of the adult me – prior to that, much (but not all) of your life decision are made by your parents.
Beads? I picked up beads because one day at the hospital, one of the doctors came up and showed me how to make earrings. I said to myself “if she can do that…”, the rest is history. Because of the beads, I joined the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild. Because of the guild, I have met some really good friends and instructors who have become friends (Marcia, Janice, Tracy, Cyn, Dot, Sue, Sharon, and so many others). Because of the guild, I met Marcia DeCoster who has become a good friend, a perfect mentor and has pushed me (sometimes kicking and screaming) to become a designer, instructor and mentor to others.

How did I end up at Henry Ford Hospital? While working at a hospital in Pontiac, MI, I became friends with one of the Merck drug company reps – Mark. Mark was a really good guy and told me about a job opening at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. I applied for that job and started working in the infectious diseases clinic. 6 months after working there (and bored), the position opened in the Internal Medicine Residency – again I applied and I was hired.

Lisa, Liz and Dr. Mario Njeim

Alan? Because of a series of less than successful romances, I put in a singles ad in a small rag called “Less Than a 10 Singles” – I received dozens of letters and met 4 of the men. Although Alan started out as bachelor #4, he is #1 right now.

How did I get a job at a hospital? Because I left my first husband (the practice husband) after moving back to Michigan from Germany and I needed a job. A friend told me about an opening at Mount Carmel Mercy Hospital in Detroit and I applied for the position in the Internal Medicine Residency program and was hired. I learned that I love working with doctors – especially residents. After a couple of years, I was transferred to another position due to cut backs and I hated that job. I then applied for, was hired and transferred to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital doing the job that I love – with the boss from Mount Carmel coming there 3 months after I transferred.


Dr. Mayank Shah and I at Mount Carmel Hospital
  I had a military life? Because I married my first husband while he was stationed in Germany, I worked for the military as a civilian. I did love living overseas, and might have stayed if the opportunity presented itself.

My father, myself, Tim and my brother Jim in a Tube stop in London
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
How I met my first husband? Because I went to my 5th year high school (Go Redford) reunion and he sat at a table with all women (okay, he’s not going to pass that opportunity up). My friend Lori told me he was an ass and to ignore him. I never listened to Lori.
How did I go to the reunion with Lori? Because I was dating a guy who was pissed that I was going and he wasn’t – even though he was asked to go with me, he didn’t want to. Sadly he was killed in a robbery at a gas station in Detroit a few years ago. RIP Adel.

How did I happen to start dating that guy? Again, because of Lori, who was dating his roommate at the time. She suggested that we go to a concert (and I didn’t know that HE was going) – it was Journey or Rod Stewart at Joe Louis Arena. We had dated previously, talked about getting married, but broke up and Adel married another woman.
So, if I hadn’t been dating Adel, he wouldn’t have gotten mad that I was going to my reunion with Lori, and I wouldn’t have met Tim and married him, moved to Germany. Then, I wouldn’t have divorced him, gotten a job in a hospital, met and married Alan. Nor would I have met a doctor who made earrings who put that statement in my head “I can do that”.
Who knows where I would be right now?  I could be putting crochet tops on dish towels.
Daring, eh?  Showing a little leg.