Saturday, November 29, 2014

Beading developments

Hello, everyone.

We made it through the Thanksgiving crush! And we managed to keep our pie collection down to five this year. (I like putting pies together--some years we have a lot of pies. But we're trying to embrace more simplicity these days, so I really tried to keep the pie making down to a reasonable level.) My sweetie made Bourbon Pecan from the Encyclopedia of Cajun Cooking. I made Apple-Cranberry and Lemon Meringue. DS brought Mrs. Sheets's Buttermilk Pie and Pumpkin. Which was a pile of pies, and most folks tried a couple of kinds for dessert.

I did promise to catch up on the beading stuff. So, freshly uploaded from my phone, bead projects:
Three projects--one abandoned--of making the Cross of Santiago in beads.
The cross on the left is the newest: Miyuki seed beads, in a new, less embellished design. By less embellished, I mean that the basic floral stems and spike base of the cross remain, but there are no added-in color spots. It's the Cross of Santiago straight-up, you might say.

The cross on the right was the first attempt in the Miyuki seed beads. I was working off of the same plan as the Delica cross (That was the charcoal on ivory one with the pink and gold accents.) The beads are a little bit of a different shape than the Delicas, and I was having some trouble with the outside shaping. I really should have skipped the green blob in the middle of the cross, I think. It does nothing for it really.

The partial cross at the top right is the one I wrote off as a lesson learned: the Preciosa seed beads just aren't meant for this stitch. Maybe they're meant for right-angle weave instead? I'll have to try that out some time.

I'm still going to try the two-drop peyote with the cross, and I think I'll try that in 15 count rocailles. It might finish off about 3/4 inch across. That seems a good size for a necklace pendant, less, um, imposing (not to say flamboyant) than the Delica cross worked out to be.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weather update: moisture!

Hello, everyone.

We got an inch of rain (2.5 cm.) over the weekend. Yesterday morning I got up early and saw morning mist outside my windows.
6:30 a.m., about, and foggy mist beginning to fade as the sun rises. Temp about 70F.
It was quite warm in the afternoon, got to the mid 80's, and then cool air blew in overnight. This evening, after a day that barely reached 70, we had a "cold night" sky, and it was time to bring in my sweetie's orchids again. We will probably keep them inside all week.

On another subject, I'm working on the UFO (Un Finished Objects) collection. The Red Quilt is about 2/3 of the way channel-quilted, and I've even figured out who I can maybe give it to.

And I'm trying out the third set of beads with the Cross of Santiago, this time a simpler version that isn't so huge it can't be included in something.
Newest versions of Cruz de Santiago, at bottom left of top sheet (nestled in below the arrow) and on top of bottom sheet (two-drop, and I want to try it in 15 count rocailles)
I'd like to also graph out a smaller scallop shell, something that would work as a pendant. But we'll see...this week is Thanksgiving and the whole in-town bunch is coming over to turkey and trimmings on Thursday. And since I'm likely to be too busy to post much this week and may not get to it again until Friday, I'd like to take the opportunity to wish a happy and blessed holiday to my US readers.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thinking of O Cebreiro and weather

Hello, everyone.

I was thinking, this morning, about weather and the Camino. We were, after the 3rd day, often very fortunate in our weather. It rained, but it rained at night after those few days, almost exclusively. (Exception for the frightening thunderstorm en route to Los Arcos--nothing like being the tallest thing in the landscape and the lightning strikes less than 2 seconds before the thunder crashes.)  It was still rainy season in northern Spain, and the map tells me we were mostly parallelling the coast about 50 miles inland. We did have a couple rain periods during walking time, but the sun began to poke out more and more as we got closer to Logrono.

The sun still was afraid to show his face at noon. I don't know why, he would be out and pretty in the morning, but the day's high temperature for about a week was at 10:30 or so in the morning. By 11:30 the clouds had beaten him back. They grow strong clouds in Spain!

I was wondering today what the weather is like now at O Cebreiro, the restored Celtic village, church, and albergue at the second-highest part of the Camino Frances. And it was harder than I'd expected to find a webcam of it. This shows parts of O Cebreiro that I didn't see at all! (But there was a paved highway up to the top, and I did see a car or two that had driven up there, so it's not really a surprise.)

I have already posted what pictures we took there, during the trip recap post series in August and September.

O Cebreiro was where, having sunk to borrowing my sweetie's tee shirt for the day, I bought a new one at the little souvenir shop.
Almost the only tee in the shop that didn't declare itself to be a souvenir of the Camino--I just didn't feel right about wearing a Camino tee shirt while still on the trail!
Did I mention on the clothes post that I tossed out some of the entirely wrong things when packing to leave? (It was a panic thing, the pack was coming in over 20 pounds and I was tossing things right and left.) I should have kept the tee shirt! Then I found myself with only a couple of the lightweight woven fishing/camping type shirts, and the lightweight sweater that held no warmth at all--and wore out under the strain to top it all. (Tossed that, and the torn leggings from Day 1, before coming home!)

Ah, well, experience teaches as they say.

If I am able to go again, I will certainly take a long sleeved fleece top and a tee shirt. The fishing shirt (that orange-sherbet colored thing with long sleeves) did well, though, and the sleeves have tabs to hold them rolled up if you want to do that with them. Even if we should walk a different route the next time, I think this lesson of packing will hold up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Beads--some have found their proper place, and the ones that haven't

Hello, everyone.

Some little while back, I wrote about having completed the Cross of Santiago pendant in Delica cylinder beads. That worked out pretty well--a little large, but not so big that it can't be worn.

And I wrote about starting to make the Cross of Santiago design in Preciosa seed beads. Today, I mention that because, as it says in the title, these beads have not found their true and perfect place in a peyote stitch bead picture. They're just the wrong shape! Instead of having a reasonably level side wall, they have a round profile. It's as if I was trying to line up miniature bagels on their sides. They wobble, they turn to one side or the other, and they just won't stay steady in their place in the design. And on top of that, I can see too much of the Fireline thread between the beads, and too much of whatever the bead fabric is sitting on.
The top part of the cross design. I love the colors, but the beads are fighting the project.
The red and black work together as colors, and the blue and gold accents are pretty. But for some reason these particular beads just don't go together in this kind of project. Rather than pulling my hair out for days on end, weaving and "unweaving" the piece over and over, I'm going to call it a lesson learned and move on.

The next thing I plan to do is to complete some UFO's that have piled up. Especially, I want to quilt and bind the Red Quilt, and get it out of here. And then sew some clothes.

While I'm thinking of quilts, a picture of one I made a number of years ago, for a baby-en-route:

I like to add satin blanket binding to my quilts, if possible. Babies usually like satin.

Another one from that time--babies come in pairs sometimes.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

More weather talk...

Hello, everyone.

My DD in Lubbock sent me a picture of the snow up there, while it was starting out. There were small white drifts next to cars and curbs...

And mention of the S word reminded me of some favorite pictures from the famous Miracle Snow of Christmas Eve, 2004.

We've had this barrel cactus for decades. The snow didn't bother it.

Snow on the lemons!

Happy dog!
It looks like we're going to have a cold winter this year. Oddly enough, however, that may not mean any snow will arrive. The winter of 2004-5 wasn't unusually cold. Our rose blossoms that felt the snowflakes didn't suffer--the snow was gone by 24 hours after it had begun. And I don't remember much in the way of running around putting Christmas lights and old sheets on plants to bring them through.

Speaking of which, how are we supposed to do freeze protection if all of the incandescent tiny-light strings are gone from the market? The old strings won't last forever, after all. Even good ones are basically cheap stuff. And the teensy bit of warmth from the Christmas lights, when confined by an old sheet (weighted down at the edges with rocks) is enough to keep the overnight frost from killing a tomato plant.

Ah, well, the weather will be what it will be, and all we can do is cope with whatever surprises we encounter.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Winter is coming--practically here, in fact

Hello, everyone.

Y'all may remember me commenting, way back in late May or early June, or when I did the recap with pictures on our return, that we arrived to begin walking the Camino and discovered that it was so cold that we thought it was winter.

Well, the kind of weather that deep south Texas calls "winter" has arrived. We got our first sharp cold front of the new winter and the high today was expected to be around 51 degrees F. (About 10.6 C for those of y'all in metric zones!) We didn't quite get out our winter coats, but I did put on a long sleeved tee to wear and when we did go out we wore our flannel quilted shirt-jackets. (We scored those babies many years ago, at K-Mart in Alton, Illinois.) The shock was less great for us now because we didn't go straight from 98 degrees to 50 degrees as we had done in May.

We also brought in my sweetie's orchid pots.
With overnight lows expected to be in the 40's, we took no chances! (Dog bed on left, converted from old pillowcase.)
Just to keep our perspective in order, though, we learned from our daughter that Lubbock was 17 degrees (F) when she headed out to class this morning. Truly Popsicle weather! I do hope she had her winter wear unpacked before this front arrived.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Rain! and then chores

Hello, everyone.

I am delighted to say that we got about 2 inches of rain from this last spell. My sweetie went out to pull the dry cornstalks the next day, and the fire ants chewed him up one side and down the other. The ants had not only put their nests in the corn patch, we also found them crawling around on the corn cobs when we went to pick them. Darned ants.

Yesterday we let the chickens have a long walk and sicced them on the ants. Don't know if it helped or not, but it made us feel a little better about the situation.

And last night I bumped my toe--the toe that was really, really purple on the trail, and has lost its old toenail--in the night and it hurt all over again. I'm beginning to wonder if when I dropped the cutting mat edge-on on that foot, I might have broken something. And I'm trying to get it well enough to get out walking again and do some hiking, now that cooler weather is arriving down here.

Speaking of chores, today was our day to add another coat or two of varnish on the doors. (We do it every couple of years, when the weather is the right temperature and not too wet.) The doors always look so pretty right after the varnish has gone one, with the wood all shiny and reflecting the light. The wood lasts a lot longer this way, too.

Progress report on the beading: The completed Delica cross was strung onto a strand with assorted Preciosa beads (black fire-polish, purple oval-ish) and other black and pearly beads to make a necklace. Then, inspired, I made a pair of earrings to go with it. Is it still increasing the simplicity of life if when using up the bead stash I end up having more stuff in the jewelry box?

The second of the Cross of Santiago projects is started, the one made from Preciosa seed beads. The background is black, the main color of the cross is red, and the highlights are blue and gold.
Starting the second cross pendant in the fat part, so the shape changes are all decreases. This was recommended by various beading sites on the web, so I thought it would be something to try out.
The Preciosa seeds act like they're a lot of little ballerinas on point, trying to stand still in a line. They want to angle this way and that way, as the sides don't have a flat part to rest upon. I went with blue and gold for the accent colors this time--have no idea whether the blue and gold are also Preciosa brand, but they're more square in form, so probably not.

I'm of mixed opinion whether to write this off at the top as a lesson learned--forget using these beads for peyote stitch--or hang in there to the end. On one hand, the red and black really make the blue highlights stand out. On the other hand, I'll probably have to back the pendant with something else, like maybe a piece of felt, or it will be too floppy to use. And it's really easy to get the count off with the beads trying to slide out of place.

Another random photo from the Camino:
From Logrono, Our Lady with cherubs. Probably an Assumption statue.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

New developments on the Cross of Santiago bead project

Hello, everyone.

I promised that there would be news on the Cross of Santiago bead project--since the last word was "starting over from the beginning."

I did redo the piece. There was an unfortunate excess set of rows that had to be removed just under the cross piece of the cross. That was fixed.
The start of the redoing is sitting in the white-beads dish on the right.

Now the cross bars have been done. You will notice that embellishing color bits are included.

Cross of Santiago, done. The color accents are dark rose and gold.
My plan for this is to use it as a centerpiece of a necklace, using various Preciosa beads I have on hand, and since there is a lot of stash bead stuff in the craft room, there will be some coordinating earrings, too.

Onward and upward with the next project, after this! (The next thing being to sew up some clothes from the mountain of fashion fabrics on hand, and to make a baby quilt for the expected grandchild. Possibly using either a sailing motif or some UT burnt orange--somehow.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bead project possibilities

Hello, everyone.

I was crawling around in my computer today--had downloaded a bunch of beading project directions files from Bead and Button magazine's online site--and discovered that I had, after all, saved the bead chart for the adorable cute waymarker at Leon:

Isn't he just the cutest little pilgrim ever? Well, except for any actual child pilgrims, who are by definition cuter than cartoons by far! But after I finish the Cross of Santiago, I think I'll try that one.

The Cross of Santiago, by the way, is almost finished. I did take some progress pictures, and I'll put them all up together. So you can see that every bead project seems to involve at least some "un-beading."

Kind of like sewing, in a way.

And one other picture, just because:
Filling water bottle at the Fountain of Roland, on the Route Napoleon, on the very first day of walking.
This was on the downhill side of the first day, after the border crossing into Spain.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Beads, and starting over again

Hello, everyone.

As you will likely remember, I have some small beading projects lined up to try, along with my idea to make a big picture of the Bramontini Risen Christ. (I think this picture may be 300 or more beads tall, but who knows? I don't think the free pattern makers that cap the width at 100 beads do it justice, and with 100 beads width there are a lot of rows. Not quite 300, but a lot. And the only way I can make a 100 beads wide picture come out decent it to essentially make it a head and shoulders only cropped picture instead of aiming at the whole painting. I'm not convinced the narrative element comes across with only the head and shoulders.)

So I started out with some beads and the pattern of the Cross of Santiago. Goal: pendant for a necklace. Materials: red Preciosa #11 seed beads and bone colored Delica #11 beads.
Starting out on the first attempt on the Cross of Santiago, lower right on the pattern sheet.
The blue bead in the white-beads dish is a stop bead, which I use to keep the beads from escaping out the back end of the thread before they're corralled by the stitches. The squareish bump on the top of the cross is the bail so the cross can hang from a strand of beads or a chain. I will curl it around and sew it into the back of the work at the end, like I did with the scallop shell purse ornament.

I have now learned that you cannot mix the Preciosa seed beads with the Delica seed beads in a peyote stitch project. They aren't the same shape! The Preciosa beeds are, when strung onto the thread, tall and skinny things that don't take up a lot of space. The Delicas are, on the same thread, little rectangles that lock into place in peyote or similar stitch work. When I tried using the Preciosas in the middle of a blob of Delicas, the skinny Preciosas just didn't sit well between the Delicas on either side. After getting about 10 rows up the stem of the cross, I concluded the only way out is to dismantle it--using the line cutters--and redo from the ground up. Using a different set of beads.

Now the tentative plan is to make: 1 cross with all Delicas, the bone colored ones for the background, the cross mostly in a sparkly charcoal gray, and a few accents in dark rose and gold inside the body of the cross and as a couple of little rosettes in the middle of the ground to either side. Then, 1 cross using Preciosas, using black for the background and red for the cross. Maybe a third color as little accents to make the pendant less stark in color. Or maybe just as-is. (A cross pendant in Texas Tech colors?) And finally there is a plan to use Japanese seed beads in transparent red and silver to make a third cross, more sparkly in effect than either of the others I think. Almost Christmas-y!

But that's where this project stands, being redone and turned into three of them.

The Bramontini project, now, that requires me to find or figure out a better pattern that will be big enough, and also I have started putting Delicas on my wish list at Fire Mountain, in colors that the painting will require and I don't have.