Thursday, March 30, 2006

Bead Shows and Mangos

First, I must report on the Intergalactic Bead Show at York, PA this past weekend.

The picture to the left is "our" table. Once again 4 of the Sizzlers shared a table under the umbrella of Mothwoman. If you can see the white arrow in the picture, it points to my portion of the table. Oh, and that's Faith's back!

I believe people have been chomping at the bit to get to a bead show. This one is the first relatively local show since before Christmas and the customers were lined up well before opening. The organizers opened a bit early and the line continued for at least a half an hour. We were busy non-stop for the rest of the day. It was pretty exciting.

The jumble of beads is just a quick shot of our neighbor's table. He had probably 6 tables that all looked a lot like this! What a great selection, along with some really great silver findings. It was very tempting with all this treasure so close, but I did manage to contain myself and only bought a few furnace beads and a ring base.

The fruit in the picture to the left, next to the apple, is an Ataulfo mango. It is quite small for a mango. This variety is ripe when yellow and the fruit itrself is sweeter and less "stringy" than what I consider to be regular mangos.

This site has lots of information along with recipes on the different varieties of Mango.

We discovered it on a trip to our Farmer's Market and remarked that it didn't look like a mango. The gal behind the table explained it to us and we tried it.... If you see them in your produce section, they are certainly worth a try!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Crocs, Wheatland & Spring Beads

We had some deliveries to make last week and started out in Amish Country.

We made a few stops and then got on to the serious business of finding some Crocs. I've been reading about them on some of the forums I frequent and in fact, one of the nurses at the day surgery said they were the most comfortable shoes she had ever worn.

I had searched the crocs website for a location near us and found a place that, sure enough, had a small selection of Crocs. I tried to post a picture, but you'll just have to check the site.

After purchasing one pair each of the navy "Beach", we decided to try another possible shop just to see if they had a wider selection. Oh, and by the way, they ARE someof the most comfy shoes I've ever worn. Clunky, but comfy and light as a feather!

On the way there my sister, Tina, (the other part of the "we" I'm talking about) said, "Oh, there's the Arboretum, I'd sure like to stop in there soon."

I said, "You mean now?" and screeched into the driveway.

Now, I knew she would take care of the actual Arboretum on her blog, but it happens to be right next to Wheatland, the home of Pennsylvania's only president, James Buchanan.

This is a different shot, since it is taken from the side. This walkway is from the Lancaster County Historical Society. Usually, pictures of Wheatland show it from the front. I imagine at other times of the year, when there are leaves on the trees, the buildings are invisible from each other.

We never did find anymore Crocs in Lancaster - although over the weekend, I managed to find a pair of brown "Aspens" in Harrisburg.

The spring weather (predicted to go rapidly downhill tomorrow with a snowstorm!) has inspired a number of springy type beads - colors and flowers.

The floating dots are the pastels of spring and Easter. I wouldn't be surprised to see a bunnie right in the middle of the set!

The set would look right at home in an Easter basket...

The flower and leaves are etched for a really soft look. They are spring - verging on summer. I think the picture here actually makes this set look better than it is, but I wouldn't mind trying this again. The leaves have beads at the tops and the flower is built on a small bead.

The flower is about 35mm from the top of the center petal to the small leaf at the bottom. The way the beads are arranged here, the whole set is 60mm from right to left.

We're almost there (Spring). Now the calendar agrees and the weather will soon follow suit!

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Unusual Season

When I was in elementary school, we presented a play called "The Unusual Season". It was about the odd weather events that occur outside of the time frame when it would be expected.

Well, apparently, we are living through one of those unusual seasons. This has been a mild winter and for the past few days, we have been enjoying some extremely warm, totally unseasonable weather. Of course, on the other hand, it snowed over the weekend in the desert southwest!

My sister and I took an early walk through the woods on Sunday and saw butterflies! Two of them flitting about. I tried to get a closer picture, but this was all I could get. They would settle on the side of a tree or hang from a naked shrub. On first settling, their wings were spread and then they would close and the butterflies seemed to disappear.

Not only the butterflies were ahead of schedule. I went out early and the birds were singing their heads off. Apparently they have taken cues from the weather and have become twitterpated! They are calling to each other, swooping about in pairs and checking out the nesting sites.

The crocuses are blooming and the daffodils on the south side of the shop are about to pop - only two weeks early! Oh, and I forgot - the bugs are also buzzing. We have an abundance of flies here (yuck) and I'm sure I saw a mosquito in the house over the weekend.

Well, I hope all the flora and fauna have a plan B. We were expecting a drastic change in the weather on Monday and overnight. Yesterday, we were in the 70's - almost 80!

This change has been moving across the country causing tornados and golfball sized hail. I was hoping that it wouldn't be so violent by the time it gets here, but a 40 degree (F.) drop in temperature was expected.

I guess this will continue to be a roller coaster ride. If we are to have previews, this is the best kind. It's been so lovely to wake up in the morning and go outside to drink a cup of coffee on the patio.

I was surprised this morning to find we had a slight sprinkle overnight and the winds have picked up quite a bit, but the temp is still in the 50's... Overnight, oddly enough, the daffodils have opened.

Later in the week, when we have snow (maybe!), I'll post a few more pictures.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

New Sets and Vessels...

I can't believe I've been away for so long. The foot has still been sidelining me a bit and along with that, I can't seem to remember my camera when I do go out.

I did learn some new editing tricks in Photoshop and today, I finally took a bunch of pictures of recently made bead sets and vessels.

The first set is called Seafoam. It is periwinkle, swirled with a transparent turquoise. On top of it all is a complex cane stringer of a number of white streamers mixed with clear.

This one is called Tortoise Diamonds. It is one of my favorite frits on transparent topaz. The reaction is really nice and forms a kind of tortoise shell pattern in topaz and greens. I put the diamond beads together with some pea green round beads and the combo is great.

We've had an amazingly mild winter and it seems we are now headed for an early spring. This set is called "Spring has Sprung" and it is such a cheerful combination of grassy greens and pinks on peachy pink transparent "Kalera" beads. The pink spacer beads pull it all together.

Do you notice how the beads in all these pictures seem to float and stand out in sharp contrast to the blurry backrounds? That was the new application I learned in Photoshop. Masks are very cool!

I called this "Pixie Dusted Amethyst" because that is how it was made, but I think a better name would be "Iced Amethyst".

I was experimenting with the pixie dust - actually it is mica which I happened to have from some soapmaking experiments and when I realized that pixie dust is really just mica, I tried it in a new use, with glass, and was quite pleased with what came out of the kiln.

The Iced Amethyst is probably my favorite photo today.

This is "Peach Implosion". An implosion is when a bead is decorated from the inside... sounds more complicated than it is, but it made an interesting vessel. The stripes on the body of this vessel are actually inside the hollow vessel.

Lately I've had a difficult time sitting at the torch long enough to produce a decent set of beads.

Yesterday, I managed to make the sets at the top of the page. At the end of the month, the Sizzlers will again be sharing a table at the York Intergalactic Bead Show. I was hoping to get some new things made for the show and now it looks like I may be able to reach that goal.

I'm feeling a bit uninspired with the names of the beads and the vessels, so if you have any suggestions, I would certainly welcome them.