Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This can't be happening. How is this happening?

Today was to be my day to work on my project for Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party. I got out my "soup" and my tools and thought briefly about a design. Actually it is a design suggested by Jim, but that is currently neither here nor there. I went through my dish of "orphans" and added a pink MOP ring about the size of a nickel to the plan. Jim left to do his errands and I was well on my way.

I was thinking how great it was to have some time alone in our cozy motorhome; just me, the flomar and my "stuff." It's an overcast day here at Tomoka State Park in Florida. The birds are singing and we are close enough to the Atlantic Ocean to catch the cool sea breeze through the open windows. Just delightful!

I decide to pickle and tumble some tiny sterling beads. I figure while they're in the pickle I might as well throw in some copper headpins that need freshening. After about an hour, I drain the pickle and there in the mix is a copper plated conical bead cap. Now how did that get in there? Mind you, it is not tiny. It is probably about two inches long. And the chemical reaction of the base metal under the plating has caused my sterling silver beads to become copper plated. Sigh. I polish the copper plate off the beads (by hand) and put everything in the tumbler.

I finish about one third of my project. I cut wire for the next segment which is going to use the MOP ring. It's gone. Where? I search my lap, the floor, my pockets. I search the table where I'm working, the counter tops, the bed. I take my seat apart, empty my tool box and the two carry-alls on the floor next to me. Then I search again. The good news is that I found $2. The bad news? Still no MOP ring.

I go back to the table to check my bead blanket for the third time to make sure my eyes aren't deceiving me. Yikes! The ring is still gone, but look what has appeared in its place.

It's a tiny brass resin-filled charm I made a couple of years ago. If you can't tell from the fuzzy photo, it says "true." Now I'm hearing the "Twilight Zone" song.

I decide this story is blog-worthy so I photograph the charm and transfer the camera card to the computer. I try to edit the photo and my software crashes but it won't go away. I try to begin the blog post but the computer shows I am no longer connected to the internet. I check the MiFi thingy and it shows a full battery charge and a full signal. ??? Time to restart both the laptop and the MiFi.

Meanwhile, as I'm going through this exercise, the inverter starts up and begins to beep. This is a piece of equipment in the motorhome that allows the use of electrical items (laptop, dremel, etc.) while the vehicle's motor is running and when the motorhome is not hooked up to an outside source of electricity. It was not on. The vehicle's motor isn't running. We are hooked up to the park's electric supply. There is no reason for the inverter to be on. It goes off then comes on again and begins beeping. No one near it, no one pressed the on button. I try to turn it off and it won't go off. I go sit down at the laptop and the inverter shuts off.

So here I am without my focal bead, with two extra dollars, and I'm wondering if 1:40 p.m. is too early for alcohol.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Not for everyone.

That's this necklace. I learned the techniques to make this masterpiece in a class with the incomparable Richard Salley at the Bead & Button Show last June. This is actually the second one I've made and won't be the last. I'm obsessed with these! Thank you, Richard! 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

First we circle the wagons . . .

. . . and then we EAT! This is what the RV-ing artists do on Saturdays after the art show closes. This show was produced by American Craft Endeavors and held in Dunedin, Florida, on Saturday and Sunday February 18th and 19th.

Here's our hostess, Helaine, demonstrating her considerable culinary skills.

Good food (and plenty of it!) and time spent chatting with fellow artists -- a great way to end a day!

P.S. I found this little gem of a house (not so little) in Dunedin. I SO want it! I even left a note in the mailbox asking to be contacted if ever the owner decides to sell!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Okay . . .

. . . we're back online. Spent the past week in a state park at the headwaters of the Everglades. We had no phone signal and no internet access. It was a nice, quiet week -- we did some bike riding, relaxing and general hanging out. I started reading "Twilight" and took some photos. Had some fun with the iPad and an app called "100 Cameras." 

Here we have a possum and friend. Unfortunately we didn't get any photos of the many armadillos roaming around each night.

Sunset in the town of Lake Wales where we had Valentine's Day dinner.

Here's our campsite as we were leaving. So pretty!

The Lake Kissimee State Park is absolutely the prettiest park we've stayed in. So far.

And with that, we're on the road again.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Oooooooooo, what's that smell?

Oranges! Heavenly! Makes me want a big old glass of OJ right now! This is a photo of a citrus processing plant. The scent, while driving by, is amazing.

Here are a few more pics so you can begin the see the magnitude of what goes on at JUST ONE PLANT!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Random photos from a beautiful state park!

These photos are from Lake Kissimee State Park in Florida. It's a beautiful park with lush, tropical foliage everywhere. I think you'll see quite a difference from the previous park inhabited mostly by Live Oaks. This park is a bit further south of Lake Griffin.

This is a sandhill crane. It is my understanding these birds are not Florida natives but migrate here for the winter. Nevertheless, I have seen them around at all times of the year down here. Their wingspan can range to almost seven feet so, yes, they are quite large. 

Here's a video of their mating dance from youtube.com. It's quite entertaining!

Here's the new toy Jim is coveting -- a folding boat.

Christmas is coming . . .

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I'm not one of those people . . .

. . . who sketches and/or plans a jewelry design, they just sort of happen to me. And that probably explains why they don't always work out, but so goes the life of the ADD-afflicted. I sat down earlier today to work on something else entirely and the next thing I knew, this bracelet started to form in front of me.

As you will notice in the photo above, my work surface in the motorhome is just about as neat and organized as the one at home. But, I digress. After taking time to make my jumprings to join my riveted links together, it occurred to me that two jumprings with a chain link between would look slightly less primitive than just joining the pieces with giant jumprings. I took the whole thing apart and put it back together with what I thought was a better look. You can see both ways in the photo below.

So, if you're a sketcher and a planner, I congratulate you. And I'll just continue to stumble along the way I'm used to.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

New Blog Challenge for Spring!

I ran across the "Suddenly Spring Challenge" by Michelle Mach and knew immediately that I wanted to be part of it. Reason #1, I love the aqua colored crystals. Reason #2, I love the little blingy rhinestone spacers.

This is my second challenge of Michelle's and, just as before, my kit arrived beautifully packaged. Some people just have that flair!

If you're interested in participating in the challenge, go to Michelle's blog. Otherwise, come back for the big reveal, Tuesday, March 13th. See you then!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The first time ever I saw . . .

. . . Spanish moss was on my high school junior trip to Washington, DC. I think we may have been in Virginia when I first saw it and have been in love with it ever since. When we lived in the Atlanta area a few years back I brought a clump of it back from a visit to Hilton Head and draped it on one of our holly trees where it survived for years. It may be there still.

So, before we leave Lake Griffin State Park, I wanted to snap a few last photos of the majestic Live Oaks and their companion Spanish moss.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What is it about a bead shop . . .

. . . that always catches my eye? Saw one in this area last week, amazingly enough since it was very well tucked in behind other businesses on a particularly busy road with lots of construction going on. Jim and I made our way there today and here are the additions to my stash:

We've got some unakite, mooakite, abalone and an agate(?) pendant containing bits of amethyst. We have purple crazy lace agate, Cherry Creek jasper and some Swarovski crystals in colors that I needed. Then there is the New African Jade in a lovely aqua and beautiful mauve lace agate, along with a couple strands of Czech glass.

Jealous? Pat's Bead Shoppe is located in Leesburg, FL. Lovely shop, friendly and helpful staff, great prices.

Monday, February 6, 2012


We had a GREAT show at Mount Dora, Florida this past weekend. There were 303 artist, 47 of whom were jewelers. It was a record show for us; we sold 83 pieces of jewelry! This was the view up and down the streets on both days:

Mount Dora is a charming town with beautiful homes around a huge lake. Thanks to the Mount Dora Center for the Arts, all the volunteers, and of course, the Popo for a very fine show!

Early Valentine's gift???

I think so. Jim knows that I often admire other jewelry designer's creations and he sometimes treats me to their wares. This pendant/slide was purchased at the Mount Dora Arts Festival last weekend. It is the creation of Robert and Teresa Nilsson of Sebastian, FL. The wire-set stone is Cherry Creek jasper with a citrine trillion in sterling silver. Yummy, isn't it?

Friday, February 3, 2012

On our way . . .

. . . to the 37th Annual Mount Dora Art Festival. Although we've participated in several other Mount Dora shows, this is our first time in this particular one.

Mount Dora Art Festival crowd

I've been working on inventory and haven't had time for much photography, so here are a few pairs of earrings waiting for their sterling earwires:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Our temporary home . . .

. . . since we arrived in Florida has been in the Lake Griffin State Park in Fruitland Park, Florida.

Tree canopy over the trail. Photo by Dee Halpern.

One of my favorite things about this park is the open air laundry room. Wish I had one at home, although probably not in the winter!

Here's my outdoor studio. Gotta love the natural light, the light breeze and temperatures in the 70s during the day.

Not a bad way to live, considering what we left in the midwest!