Last summer the Portland Bead Society hosted a weekend of awesome classes with international instructor Helena Tang-Lim. We had a great time, and the projects are very impressive! Also very time-consuming. Well, I finally finished one of them during our recent PBS Bead Retreat. Here is my completed Chatelaine's Heirloom. I made one small change to Helena's pattern: I added magnetic clasps to the necklace strap, so it can be converted to wear without the pendant.
In a time of so much hostility, Marcia DeCoster and some other beading luminaries have started something called BeadLove, and it's off to a running start with a communal project creating the letters for the word LOVE in beadwork. Each week, Marcia published the pattern for another letter, and we all followed along. I got off to a late start, but caught up and now I've finished all four letters. I'm not sure what I'll do with them, but it's been a lovely experience, especially seeing what so many other leaders did with the same pattern!
Here are my letters, and a link to the site where you can see the others.
A couple of friends and I did a 2-day pop-up show at a local brew-pub, Baerlic Brewing. No charge for the space, so it was worth a try.
Lesson learned: beer drinkers don't buy jewelry, but they do like glass plates and wooden trays.
However, one young couple was very cute... the young woman really admired a fairly expensive bracelet of mine, and later when she went to the restroom, the young man hurried over and bought it for her. It made my day!
This is my latest work, created for an online beading challenge to do something that includes an eye. How could I NOT participate??
I haven't done any bead embroidery in awhile, but this Hamsa wall-hanging was a pleasure to work on, and flowed pretty easily once I got started. It's about 5" x 6", beaded on stiff interfacing, and backed with ultra-suede. The beadwork was very loosely planned, with most choices being made as I went along. Materials include stone, glass, metal, crystal, shell, and pearls.
I completed a lot of it during my recent trip to Seattle, so it evokes that feeling when I look at it.
My questions now are:
- Hanger or frame?
- Sell it or keep it?
- How much can i charge for 30-40 hours of work?
High-quality problems, right?
P.S. The underlying Hamsa shape and lotus-flower idea came from a free clip-art graphic by Rebecca Davidson.
I was disappointed that I couldn't be at Mah Jongg on Thursday night, but it turned out really well. My Mother-in-Law Sonia was invited to be the guest speaker at a Holocaust Remembrance event, and it was a women's event, so Gershon couldn't attend. I felt I should be there for moral support.
Well, she did a great job, and I was really proud of her. The young women were so impressed, and grateful to her for sharing her painful personal history for their benefit. In the end, she did an artful job of bringing it all around to today's refugee issue. With her heavy accent and quirky English, she was still articulate & eloquent, never dipping into self-pity, and emphasizing her point effectively that humans can, and must, survive much more than they think they can, and make something worthwhile of their lives. During Sonia's talk, there was an amusing moment when some of the women realized that she was Gershon's mother. Many of them know him through their children, because he leads children's services at Neveh Shalom. Suddenly the whole context of the evening made more sense to them.
The event was in a private home, attended by about 15 people. Mostly it was young moms, but there were also a few kids, a baby, and a couple of people my age. Also two dogs and a rabbit. We got the hostess' 10-year-old son to take a group photo. The feeling of intimacy was lovely. Sonia gave her talk, about 25 minutes, and then there was a Q&A session. Once the formal part of the evening ended, individuals had a chance to talk with Sonia, and she was really in her element.
In the end, everything worked out the way it was supposed to, and I was glad I went.
Well!! After so many months of living in limbo (cue Jimmy Cliff), it seems like everything is moving really fast!
We got the final test results this week, and the repairs are supposedly done, so we'll do a final walk-through and close escrow some time this week. Then, for a short while, we will actually own two homes... eeek!
Meanwhile, our home goes up for sale on Monday, with a brokers' tour Tuesday and Open House next Sunday. This will mean a new kind of living in limbo (love that song)!
We have viewed 66 houses since early March, experienced great frustration as prices spiraled upward on one-story homes, made several offers that didn't pan out, and all the while we were afraid to sell our own house without first procuring a new place to live. Now that one side of the equation appears to be settled, I imagine the other side won't take too long. Hard to believe, but it's time to call
Of course the move is bittersweet. We have wanted to downsize, yet it feels sad to leave this beautiful neighborhood where we've lived for 17 years. A new adventure awaits us, but it's hard to feel it yet. As I often say, "all will be revealed in time." Wish us luck!
Today is the photo shoot of our house for the real estate listing. I feel like I've been cleaning forever. And hiding stuff… I doubt if I'll remember where I put anything! I'm exhausted, and the house feels eerily quiet, almost as if nobody lives here.
On the other end, we are supposed to get the report today on the soil samples for the house we're buying, trying to determine the level of contamination from the old heating-oil tank beneath the property. We're in limbo here, even though escrow is supposed to close in a few days! I can hardly wait for the whole odyssey to be finished!
Early Sunday morning we set up this week's art exhibit, part of a 4-week Jewish Arts Month (JAM) series at the JCC. Each week features a new set of artists, and this is my week. We all take turns manning (womaning?) the show. I have 10 pieces of beaded jewelry in the exhibit. Well, about 3 hours after we finished setting up, I got a phone call saying that these two pieces sold already!! The funny thing is that they were both quickie "flash challenges" for my online beading group. I'm very excited about it, but also a little sad to see them go.
Today was sort of a revival of my birthday. Today was the beading class that Gershon bought for me as a birthday gift. And today I finally opened up the beading-board that Micah gave me for my birthday. It was a glorious experience!
I love taking beading classes, but I don't take them very often because they're expensive! So now I've figured out that they are a good thing to request as a gift!
Today's class was held at Village Beads,
and taught by Virginia Blakelock.
Virginia's projects tend to be very complex and detailed. This one looks deceptively simpler than it actually is. It's called Serpentina Bracelet. I made pretty good progress during the class, and will add a picture here when it's finished.
Here's the publicity pic of it:
There were only five students in the class, so it was a cozy group, with lots of personal attention from the instructor. Village Bead has a lovely atmosphere for classes, because the class table is right out in the showroom, not tucked away in a back room.
All in all, it was a wonderful day.
(And then in the evening, our Couples Mah Jongg group got together to play Mah Jongg and celebrate PI Day. Yum!)
Today is the one-year anniversary of Nacho's passing. I still miss him, and I still cry, but not as much. And I'm starting to laugh sometimes at memories of him... I think that's a sign of healing.
I also feel I'm almost ready for a new dog. I really miss having that sweet animal presence in our life. Can't take on a dog at this moment, as we prepare the house for sale, but I think we'll get one as soon as we move. What breed? I don't know. But I think the right dog will present him/herself.
Yesterday I participated in this year's Mah Jongg Tournament at Neveh Shalom. My fellow Thursday-night player Julia Waco was there too. There were also a number of people I've taught to play Mah Jongg over the years, which is always very gratifying.
It was a lovely event, with food, camaraderie, Mah Jongg and prizes.
Unfortunately, there was a slight problem with the climate control,
so everyone at the event was
Despite the challenging conditions,
I managed to score pretty well, and win 4th place!
This wasn't quite high enough to win a cash prize,
but gift cards for Veggie Grill are great too!
A fun time was had by all. (Well, except for the crazy lady who got mad at Julia. Elana would be proud of Julia for racking so fast!)
And the tournament raises money for education scholarships, so it's all good!
Milestone birthdays can be tough. It feels very strange for the words "I'm sixty" to come out of my mouth. It doesn't seem possible. But there, I said it: I'm sixty.
This particular birthday, however is strange for a different reason. It is my first birthday ever without my mother in the world with me. Birth-days celebrate the very intense moment that we each shared with our own mother. But now she's not here to share it, and it feels strangely one-sided.
I miss you, Mom. Happy birthing-day. Thank you for everything. Love, Esther
"Bead-it-Forward" is an annual project in the beading world, where beaders worldwide contribute little 2-inch beaded squares to an auction which raises money for Breast Cancer research. Originally the squares were to be made into one big quilt for auction. But the project grew too big for that (and the quilt would be terribly heavy), so now the squares are auctioned individually, or in small groupings of 2 or 3. In my online beading group, there are two fantastic women who collect all of the squares from our group, one in Europe and one in North America. They finish the squares with tiny frames, or group them onto a ribbon, and forward them along to the group running the sale. Our items are listed together so we can bid on each others' work. This is my second year contributing to the project, and it will be my third year bidding on it. Each year there is a theme. This year's theme is "Wild About Finding a Cure," so squares are requested to have an animal theme. Here are my three contributions. The third one also fulfills this month's theme challenge for the online beading group, which is to use a song title or lyrics. After deciding to do "Elusive Butterfly of Love," I decided to give song names to the other two as well.
"Bungle in the Jungle"
Last year's theme was "Turn the Tide on Breast Cancer," so the squares were ocean-themed.
These were my contributions:
And these are the squares I bought last year:
When I learned of this project in 2013, it was too late to contribute, but I was able to buy these two squares in the auction. The theme was "Stitching to Find a Bloomin' Cure."
Not only is this a fun and worthwhile project to participate in, but it also provides me with a heart-warming physical connection to women living half-way across the world, whom I only know online.
I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else came up with this year, and bidding on the squares when the auction occurs.