Monday, June 22, 2009

Here Comes the Bride!

Not me, for heaven sake, it's my entry in the Etsy Beadweaver's July Challenge. The theme was picked by the May challenge winner, Miriam of Cielo Designs. While I don't plan to ever be a bride again, it was fun coming up with something for this challenge. I tried to do something sort of traditional bridal, but at the same time, that could be worn for any dressy occasion or even to soften the look of a business suit. I just recently learned how to stitch a flat spiral and I've enjoyed experimenting with the stitch. In my necklace I started with the original flat spiral using AB firepolish crystals and three shades of white seed beads. As I worked toward the center, I made graduated loops of beads on one side. The flexibility of this stitch gave me the idea of the rings in the center to represent the unity of marriage. This may have been the first piece I've ever made in all white. It was a bit of a challenge just to come up with the variation of white seed beads that I wanted, but I'm pleased with how the different finishes complement each other.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Working Vacation

When I go on a vacation it's easy to put away thoughts of accounts receivable, payroll and insurance filing. After all, that's what I'm taking the vacation from! But the work I do at home usually goes with me, even on vacation. Most of the time my SO drives so even short trips are a source of uninterrupted beading time.
Last week when we drove to Oklahoma and Texas, I loaded plenty of entertainment for the drive time: a book, my laptop (with new games loaded) and of course, my beads! I played a lot of Bejeweled and Bubbletown, but I also got a lot of beading done!
This first picture is a stone I bought some time ago because I liked the "natural" color of it and also its asymetry. The Pottawatomie weave kind of mimics that same asymetry.

The second and third pictures are also a pendant I picked up quite a while ago. I'm not normally drawn to animal prints but something about the buff color with the black caught my eye. I think the reversible flat spiral complements the zebra stripes quite well. Because it's reversible, I made it to also be worn sans pendant by sliding the pendant off.

The last picture is of a bracelet that I made with some of the beads I bought at the bead store in Austin. I fell in love with the khaki color of the triangle beads. They almost jumped out of the display into my hand and shouted, "Take me home!". The 11's and 15's, when mixed with the triangle beads in a flat spiral combination, remind me of a berber carpet. I'm not sure I want to part with this bracelet. Not only do I love the color and texture of it, but most of it was woven while sitting and chatting on the patio in Austin so I guess it has some emotional attachment for me as well. Maybe I'll keep this one and make another one sometime similar to it to sell.

Monday, June 15, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

Didn't quite make my goal of blogging every day while gone on vacation. Guess I got sidetracked doing those vacation things. Let's see, last post was from Port Lavaca, TX. We left there early Friday morning and traveled to Austin, TX. Steve's son and DIL go to the Texas College of Chinese Medicine there learning to be acupuncturists. I always learn so much when we visit them. Talk about a couple of sharp young people. They also have some fun pets. There's a big dog named Lillie, a black and white cat named Thoate and two silkie chickens, Ora and Autra. Friday we just mostly sat around, relaxed and caught up. We did visit a local bead shop however. I had seen the ad for the store on Facebook and Caite knew where it was and had been wanting to go there. Got some wonderful new seedbead colors and made up a bracelet with them, but that's another post. Then Saturday morning, early, we headed off to a place called Wildseed Farms near Fredricksberg, TX. They have a Butterfly Haus which is a controlled area where the butterflies fly freely around you and photo opportunities abound!

I had to buy some of the painted Mexican pottery pieces they offered for sale, too. The colors are so bright and were just irresistable! I got a wonderful salamander that's about a foot and a half long and a small butterfly. Later that evening, the kids took us to see one of the amazing sights in Austin. Every evening from under the South Congress bridge across the Colorado River, at sundown, flies out approximately one and a half Million bats. It is a truely astounding sight! They come out so fast that they are literally a blur but the migration goes on for at least thirty minutes. One lady commented that they looked like smoke against the trees, they fly so fast. The bats live up under the bridge and can't be seen by daylight, but trust me, they can be smelled!

Unfortuneately, I have to be back at my real job in the morning so we left Austin, yesterday about noon and got as far as Purcell, Oklahoma, just south of Oklahoma City where we stopped for the night. Would have gotten farther but Austin traffic was horribly backlogged for some reason on Sunday. We left there this morning and arrived back home around lunch time today. It's good to be home. Besides, I had a new relative to meet as soon as I got back.

Wyatt Christjian was born on June 10 while Grandma was away. He came by emergency c-section and it's probably a good thing I didn't know all the details until I got back. But I've always said things happen for a reason and all that's important is that we have a healthy baby boy and his mama is doing fine.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Day Three

Seems I'm a day late now on all my vacation posts, but at least I've been able to make one for each day so far. Yesterday we arrived at Port Lavaca kind of on a whim. We both love the ocean and would have tried to go back to Galveston had the big hurricane not intervened between the last time we were there and now. So we looked a little further south on the map and found this place. It's not nearly as picturesque as Galveston, but nice nonetheless. We spent a good part of the day wading on the beach (neither of us swim) and trying to get pictures of sea gulls in flight. It was quite windy and was so fascinating to watch how the birds worked the air currents. We had a wonderful meal in a local restaurant called the Bayside Restaurant, grilled fresh red snapper and shrimp. The owners have their own boat that fishes in the gulf so they have fresh fish available daily.
Steve made a lot of fun of me for not going in any further, but let's get one thing straight. I love the ocean. I love to watch the ocean. I love to listen to the ocean. I even love to smell the ocean. But I do not like to be under the ocean! Besides, I didn't want to get my jeans wet!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day Two

Okay, it's actually day three already but I was tired last night and didn't feel like putting up a blog. We spent a lovely morning still in Oklahoma City at the Myriad Botanical Gardens and the Crystal Bridge in downtown Oklahoma City. The Crystal Bridge is an all glass enclosed tropical garden that is just delightful. I had so much fun snapping photos of all the exotic flowers. There were also these little gnomes hidden around the garden and they gave you clues to find them. I took photos of all of them I could find. Corny, yes, but I enjoyed the hunt.

Outside, the gardens were just as lovely. Again we were disappointed not to see more butterflies, but it was already climbing into the eighties by 10:00 or so. I did manage to capture a cardinal on the back of park bench and it was just like he'd posed just for me.

We then headed south again with the idea of going to Waco, TX then veering toward the Gulf and getting as far as we could. Dallas was a nightmare to drive through. Traffic bumper to bumper and construction everywhere. It took us over two hours just to get through Dallas. We are figuring out a different route on the way home! We finally made it as far as Schulenberg, TX and found a motel to spend the night. Then it was up early this morning and on to Port Lavaca on the gulf coast. That's Day Three and I'll write about it later.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day One Traveling

We left this morning in a downpour in our rented Hyundai Alantra. It's a nice car, very comfortable for the two of us. We got to Oklahoma City about 1:00 or so and found our way to the Oklahoma City Zoo easily enough. Spent about two and half hours at the zoo in 95 degree weather, which was about long enough for this old lady. It's a very pretty zoo but the butterfly exhibit that we really wanted to see was a disappointment. Although the area was enclosed, it was with netting and it was too hot for the butterflies to be flitting about. I had fun taking photos of the animals though. My favorites were the river otters. They are so playful and I love watching them cavort in the water.

I got some really cool photos of the owls, too. My old Kodak really came through while my SO with his fancy Canon couldn't get a good shot.

The lady at Guest Services at the zoo was very helpful and found us a motel with easy access to downtown and the Myriad Botanical Gardens where we want to go in the morning. She also suggested we check out Bricktown in downtown Oklahoma City so we drove down there this evening. It's quite pretty. There's a canal walk and tons of places to eat. We ate at Pearl's Crabshack which I highly recommend! Food was great. Prices very reasonable. After we ate, we walked along the canal even though it was still about 90. Then in finding our way back to the motel, we stumbled on a Bass Pro Shop and of course we had to stop. I was glad we did because I found the crystal Fireline I've been searching for and it was 20% off! I bought two.
Not sure what the plans are after the gardens in the morning but I think we're veering off toward the gulf coast for a day before heading back to Austin to visit family.