Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ice Cube, A Bracelet and The BJP

I finished my Ice Cube the other day. It is a pattern by Laura McCabe called Crown Jewel. I used 18mm Swaroski Rivolis in Crystal AB. Rivolis are fun to bead around and can be so many pretty things.

Below is a bracelet I recently finished. It is right angle weave with a 4 mm glass pearl in the center of each little square.

I've started thinking about my theme and page size for the 2008 Bead Journal Project. There are 260 members this year from 16 different countries. The project has 3 blogs to track the progress of the members.They are listed to the right. It seems that Blogger has changed its rules and now allow only 100 contributors to a blog. Creating 3 blogs for the project is a great way to deal with the numbers.

Beyond the Garden Fence is my theme for the year. Choosing a size is giving me more trouble. Last year I picked 7 by 7 inches and that was way too big. I know I am going smaller this year, but how small. One idea I have is to use the little Altoids tins as the page. I like the idea of opening the tin to see the 'garden'. I also want to learn about polymer clay and I could cover some of the tins in clay. The tin can also be covered in beads and fabric. The notebook created to write and sketch ideas for the project is getting busy with ideas. I just wonder if I am getting in over my head again.

The main complication is that I am going to have carpel tunnel release surgery preformed on my left hand. The right release was about 3 years ago. I love the result as the hand was waking me up at night with not only numbness, but pain. I would have to get up and put ice on the area. The doctor said the longer I let it go the bigger chance there was for nerve damage.

The left had doesn't get used as much, so I have been able to baby it along. But I took a wire working class this past spring. That really used the left hand and I've had to use the brace every night since then. It's not going to get better and there is never a good time to have the surgery.

Back to the BJP. I don't want to get too far behind because of the surgery. Since it is the left hand which I don't use it as much for embroidery as other bead work, I'm hoping I can start beading again three to four weeks after the surgery. I think I am going to do the first few pages in a size that will fit the tin and if I can to the project with the tins----great. If not, it is still a good size. I've already started on the first page-----but I'm keeping it behind the garden fence for now.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Let it Rain

We recently spent a few days camping on our property in Western North Carolina. The weather was beautiful and much cooler than we expected. The area has been in some state of drought since the late 1990's. It is now classified as "Exceptional Drought" which is the most extreme level.

The picture is of a shallow pond on the property. This is the first time it has been this dry since we owned the property. There was always a small puddle for the deer to drink out of. Now it is dry enough to drive across. The pond used to be home to many frogs and newts. I hope a few of them are hiding in the bit of mud in the center of the pond waiting for the rain.

Rain did come the first few days of this week as the remnants of Tropical Fay passed by. I had really hoped she would move to the state sooner and leave a bit more rain. Instead she waltzed across Florida a few times. It seems much of the rain this time of year comes from tropical systems or weather systems from the Gulf of Mexico. Hopefully the fall months will bring more rain to the area.

Many of the trees are showing signs stress from the years of low moisture by turning yellow and dropping their leaves in the late summer before the temperatures cool. There are several trees dropping leaves. The tree in the center of this picture is a Sweet Gum with leaves that are brown and shriveled. It looks different than the ones dropping leaves. I am afraid it may not recover.

We never drive very fast on the mountain roads because they are steep with lots of switch backs and curves. Often deer are crossing the roads, which is another reason to drive slow. These two crossed the road in front of us and then stopped in the trees to watch. Can you see them? Below is a enlarge portion of the photo. It's kind of fuzzy, but hopefully you can see them looking at us.

The deer almost always stop to watch us pass in the car. If we stop and watch long enough they will move on. As long as we stay in the car, they appear to take their time, but if we are on foot, they don't waste time moving away from us.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Warning: Four Paws Pimple Ball is Dangerous

Dog owners need to know of the dangers of this toy.

It looks like a fun toy for dogs to play with. Round, bouncy, made of rubber. What could possible be dangerous? The problem is that the ball is small enough for the dog to put the whole thing in his mouth. The dog's jaws are powerful enough to bite down on the ball and squeeze it. When that happens the hole becomes a shape that allows the tongue to go inside of the ball and when the dog stops biting the ball the tongue is stuck inside of the ball. There is only one hole in the ball, so a vacuum is created and the dog can not get his tongue out.

This has happened to several dogs. Chai is a recent victim of the ball. Chai, a beautiful 10 year old lab mix got his tongue stuck inside this ball. His owner could not help him and rushed him to the vet. What follows is not easy to read. It does appear that Chai is going to recover, but his tongue did have to be amputated. Life isn't easy for Chai right now.

This should not have happened as other dog owners have documented this problem to the Four Paws company since 2005 or earlier. Please read Chai's story and write to Four Paws to request the recall of this toy . You can contact them through their web site that still shows the ball available. There is a small contact us button at the bottom of the page. Notice the ball is now a different color than the one that Chai had, but it appears to be the same, dangerous design.

I'm off to hug my two dogs.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Screen covered in sticky notes

I used to have the little frame around my computer screen covered with little paper Post-it notes. They were there to remind me of birthdays, doctor's appointments, to get the dog's heartworm medicine and many other things. At some point I came across Stickies. They are little post it notes that are on the screen. I love them. I have been using them for years. I tried the Google side bar that had a little note section, but it was not big enough to show everything at one time. I would have to scroll down to see everything---if I remembered there might be more.

Stickies can be place anywhere on the screen. They have several font choices and formatting options. You can make them any size and even stack them on top of each other. It's a free program. Check it out.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bead Journal Project 2008-2009

Last year I joined the Bead Journal Project started by Robin Atkins. The idea was to create one page of bead embroidery each month for a year. Each person decided upon their own theme, size, and everything else to do with the project. Robin gave this statement
Our primary goal during this process, is to stretch our creative and technical limits. The BJP is all about visual journaling using any media and techniques, as long as it includes beading. We are free to structure our bead journal pages any way we want, as long as all 12 are the same size.
I had never attempted anything like this before. All of my projects of beading, embroidery, cross stitch, or sewing had patterns, diagrams, instructions. I would change bits and parts of the whole, but I had never designed following my own creativeness. It was scary to think of doing this project. It was exciting to think of doing this project. I jumped in, eyes closed, breath held, and surfaced a couple of months later. Some of my pages are in the archives of this blog.

I decided upon a theme of 'seven'. There are many sevens in my life and I thought it would be fun to explore them. My first mistake of the whole project was to decide the size of my page would be 7 inches by 7 inches. Very big, empty space to fill with creativeness. It was too big. Yes, I didn't have to cover every inch of the the page with beads, but that's what I wanted. I did compromise and used fabric as part of the page. I finished 5 pages and have half of the 6th done. Finishing 7 pages would have felt a bit less of a failure.

The good news is that there is a BJP for 2008-2009. If you are interested you can register to participate through August 15. Click this to find the information. I'm sorry that I have posted this so close to the deadline for registration.

I think you should dash over there and register right now. You can think about what you have done later. To be honest, I am disappointed that I did not finish the year, but I do not feel that I failed at the project. I learned so much. One of the main things I learned is that I can reach inside and find some form of creativeness that is my own. I even liked the pages I did. I now know that I don't always need patterns, directions, or guidelines. I enjoyed learning that about myself. I want to learn more, so I have signed up for the next project. Join me and the other 204 participants. If you want to see where all participants are from click this. It is most impressive.

The journal pages can be any size or shape as long as you use the same size and shape through out the year. Beads have to be part of the page, but you do not have to cover every inch of the page in beads. Look here to find some of the pages completed this past year. You can also spend a couple of hours cruising through the 2007 BJP Blog to see some of the creations. It is a wonderful , supportive community.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Summer Flowers

I have sand for dirt around my house. Really---sand. Sand that you would find at the beach. There are areas near by where they dig up the sand, put it in huge trucks and sell it to places hundreds of miles away. It is not easy growing flowers in sand. It's hard to keep them watered and fed. I try to add organic matter to enrich the beds, but it is a slow process. Day lilies seem to like the sand. The main problem with day lilies is that they bloom for a short time and by the first of August they are no blooms to be seen.

Here are some of day lilies from this summer:

There are a few other flowers I can grown in the sand like this Stokes Aster.
Flowers that last the summer have to be in pots in order to thrive

I have tried to grow tomatoes in pots. I have learned that putting them under the pine trees cause the tomatoes to be covered with pine sap. I've gotten a few tomatoes, but cleaning the pine sap off is interesting. We have a friend who has recently bought some land and moved her family and horses there. Perhaps she will have some extra "organic" material to share. I plan to grab a small trailer full and cover the flower beds for the winter.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Dogs just want to have fun

This is Cody who turned 8 this July. He's a Lab/Golden Retriever mix, but really doesn't care for retrieving. He does love to play tug with his rope. He also loves water. There is a small pond in the back yard and he will wade in the shallow end to cool off and get a drink. I was afraid that the pond had a leak because it was often an inch or two low. Then I realized that a dog will carry out a bit of water on his fur and figure it's good to add fresh water. There is one gold fish in the pond.

Sky, who will be three in September, takes the job of retrieving serious. She has several of these rubber balls hiding in the backyard and in the house. Cody will chew the cover off of tennis balls, so we don't use them. We know sky has a bit of Australian Shepard in her, but have no idea why she looks like a miniature German Shepard. When questioned about her breed, we often say Carolina Shepard.She also thinks the pond is a great place to get a drink. They have a huge bowl of fresh water available, but there is something special about the taste of pond water. Maybe it is the fun of standing in the water bowl that makes the pond so attractive.

Each day is a new adventure when you share your life with dogs.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Elegant Expression

The necklace above is called Elegant Expression. It was designed by Noriko Romanko published in the October, 2006 issue of Bead and Button. The pattern used two needles. Usually two needles are not a problem, but that technique did not work for me with this pattern. Her pattern had wonderful diagrams, so it was easier to switch to one needle. The thread path was changed a bit. I did use 8 pound Fireline because of the crystals and to give the piece more shape. I really like the way it turned out.

Happy Mother's day to a young mother of an 18 month old. The center is a Swarovski crystal in some shade of Topaz which is the birthstone of the baby. The mother's birthstone is pearls. The pearls used were a freshwater pearl that had a faint mauve cast to them. They were drilled at a funny angle that worked perfect for what i wanted. The necklace is a twisted, tubular herringbone weave. I'm still not certain that I managed to combine the pearls and topaz in a pleasing manner. It's hard to tell from the photo.

Friday, August 01, 2008


Darn, these blogs are hard to keep current. I love reading blogs, but I never seem to find the time to up date mine.

A current obsession is collecting eggs from the dragon cave and then trying to r
aise them to adult dragons.

This is my first adult. To see all of my dragons and eggs visit my scroll. A word of warning, you may soon find your self with eggs to hatch and babies to raise. I have no idea why I am collecting dragons, but it is fun.