Saturday, September 26, 2009

September 20: Eureka and the Redwood Forest

Hi there!

Let's continue the road trip towards Bead Fest Portland and show you folks some of the "fun" we sometimes get to enjoy on our trips.

All work and no play is simply not in our vocabulary.

We left Redding, CA in the early morning with the agenda of driving through Hwy 299 then onward to Hwy 101 towards Eureka, CA.
Nick shares my fondness for architecture and found out Eureka had some pretty nice Victorian landmarks/homes. Armed with our trusty GPS which we have since fondly nicknamed "Roxanne", we were on our way. Hwy 299 is a historic scenic route and you can really drink in all the beauty that is Mother Nature. Hwy 299 was a winding and curving road. We kept ourselves entertained by singing along to our favorite CDs, stopping at as many vista points along the way as we could.
And then we arrived...

Some of the fine samples of Victorian architecture we were fortunate to partake in ... the most beautiful being the Carson Mansion!! From the Eureka Heritage's website on the Carson Mansion:

One of the most written about, and photographed Victorian houses in California, and perhaps in the United States, the William Carson Mansion epitomizes the range of possibilities for eclectic design expression that created a peculiarly American style of architecture. Derived from many sources, but unique enough to represent none predominately, this much discussed and debated property stands today in virtually the same condition as when first constructed. The designers, Samuel and Joseph Newsom, were well respected San Francisco architects who heartily embraced the concept of the "picturesque", a quality that continues to fascinate all who see the Carson Mansion's intricately composed interiors and exteriors.

Prominently sited [143 M Street], the extensive grounds provide a substantial pedestal for this sculptured edifice. Eye-seeking and shadow-producing surfaces showcase the use of wood as a building material. This three-dimensional "pattern-book" took over one hundred men over two years to construct. Its influence on the design of subsequent buildings in Eureka is readily apparent even today. In addition to the abundant use of redwood, Mr. Carson imported 97,000 feet of primavera or "white mahogany" from Central America, along with other woods and onyx from the Philippines, East India, and Mexico. The elaborate interiors include stained glass, plasterwork, and carved ornaments in exotic woods.

The Carson Mansion was owned by the descendents of William Carson until 1950, when it was sold to the Ingomar Club.


Unfortunately the Carson Mansion is a private property and not opened to the public for tours. This is to ensure the integrity and beauty of this historical landmark. But, Oh... I would have loved to stroll down the halls and seen the interiors personally. If the building is this pretty on the outside, I can only imagine how breathless it may be inside. You can view the interiors though from the Ingomar Club website. Simply marvelous architecture and interior decor! Ain't history grand?

Now here are other fine samples of architectural delights around Eureka I would like to share with you...

The Pink Lady:

The Arkley Center for the Performing Arts...

with a Deco influence.

Uhmmm....I'm drinking up the facade at the Carnegie Free Library...

Look at the angels! We even found a rare antiquarian bookstore! Of course I HAD to stroll in. I found a lovely book on the history of Cartier jewelry design. Uhmmmm.... I love rummaging through a used bookstore and finding something that wets my appetite to create. Then again, I can't enter any bookstore generally without buying a book or magazine.

This was not the only book I bought on this trip. (Eeek...bitting nails!) but more on that in a later post...
No time to diddle daddle so we got into our car and hit the road along Hwy 101 to check out some of the Redwood forests along the way to Oregon. We have a habit of stopping at as many vista points as possible. At one of the vista points, we saw a swimmer training in the cold waters and spent a few moments speaking to her.
Earlier we had seen people on the highway near some bushes. I thought that was odd since it was close to a freeway entrance. After speaking to the swimmer, we strolled around and realize why those people were in the bushes.
No it's not what you think...
or maybe it was? haha
I'll let you know when you view the next set of photos that I had NOTHING to do with encouraging Nick to pick wild blackberries and posing for these photos.
Do you believe me?
I too was guilty and acting like a kid, having fun running about picking berries. There were so many wild bushes full of berries.
Only pick the black berries as the red ones are not riped yet.
And here is "Mr. Guilty One" in action. I happened to have brought some ziploc bags (how convenient) along on the trip. And here is "Ms. Guilty One" with two ziplocs full of wild black berries on her lap. (grin) We would have some of the berries sprinkled with Splenda. They were a bit tart but half the fun of it was picking them. We left a bag for the hotel staff to enjoy. We got back into the car and continued our drive up the coast towards the Redwoods. With the Pacific Ocean to our left, we were eatting up the view. Then we spotted a nice beach area at another vista point!

So we had to stop!

Then someone had to go have an adventure... and it wasn't me.

See the lovely rocks in this beautiful picture?
The lovely rocks had some lovely barnacles...
With intent and a mission, the Adventurer thought he would go explore the lovely rocks with the lovely barnacles... So what is Mr. Traveler not a Tourist going to do? He decides that it would be fun to climb around the lovely rocks with the lovely barnacles.

He then slips...

On the lovely rocks with the lovely barnacles...

All I can say is... OUCH!!!
It was time to drive through the Redwoods ... to forget the pain above...
This way to the Big Tree!
Nick versus the Big Tree. See how small he is?
We continued on our route and arrived at our next stop, Medford Oregon after picking up some first aid. OUCH! What a sport to not have complained about the pain and to drive all that way.
More to come on the continuing road trip and adventures to Bead Fest Portland...
Always the Traveler, Never the Tourist
Lisa and Nick

Friday, September 25, 2009

September 19: On the road ... to Portland

Hi there!

So here I am on a Friday night and instead of being out in downtown Portland living it up and partyin', I'm blogging.

Goes to show you that I lead a very exciting life. haha. ;o)
At least I have my priorities and know that I promised to write here during the trip so here I am.

I thought I would give you a synopsis of the road trip and share with you some favorite sites in case you visit California or Oregon in the future. Every moment was precious and we had lots of "little" adventures along the way. I took tons of photos, as usual, to capture our experiences.
So come with me and Nick on our road trip through Northern California as we travel towards Portland.
We left Southern California in the wee hours of the morning on Sat Sept 19th. Sure, we could have had a few extra hours of sleep but we were excited and anticipated the fun of this road trip. We drove pretty much straight through and stopped over for the evening in Redding, CA. After checking into our hotel we had a few extra daylight hours to explore the surrounding area. We had wanted to go to the Shasta caverns but was too late for a tour.
Always the adventurer here and not one to waste time when there are things to do and things to see, I found the intriguing Sundial Bridge nearby on our tourist map. The Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay's Exposition Park is the largest operating sundial in the WORLD which is also a bridge. Wow!
We actually had no idea of its existence but was just fortunate to be at the right place at the right time to discover this first adventure.
From their website:
The Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay crosses the Sacramento River in the heart of Redding, California. Opened July 4, 2004, the bridge links the north and south campuses of Turtle Bay Exploration Park and serves as a new downtown entrance for Redding’s extensive Sacramento River Trail system.

The bridge celebrates human creativity and ingenuity, important themes of the 300 acre Turtle Bay Exploration Park. The steel, glass, and granite span evokes a sense of weightlessness and the translucent, non-skid decking provides for spectacular viewing at night. The bridge is also environmentally sensitive to its river setting. The tall pylon and cable stays allow the bridge to avoid the nearby salmon-spawning habitat there are no supports in the water while encouraging public appreciation for the river. Plazas are situated at both ends of the bridge for public use; the north-side plaza stretches to the water allowing patrons to sit at the river’s edge.

In addition to being a functional work of art, the Sundial Bridge is a technical marvel as well. The cable-stayed structure has an inclined, 217 foot pylon constructed of 580 tons of steel. The deck is made up of 200 tons of glass and granite and is supported by more than 4,300 feet of cable. The structure is stabilized by a steel truss, and rests on a foundation of more than 115 tons of steel and 1,900 cubic yards of concrete. The McConnell Foundation, a private, independent foundation established in Redding in 1964, funded the majority of the bridge’s $23 million cost.
World renowned Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava conceived the Sundial Bridge’s unusual design, his first free-standing bridge in the United States. Calatrava has built bridges, airports, rail terminals, stadiums, and other structures around the world. His notable designs include the new PATH transportation terminal at the World Trade Center site in New York City and several projects at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, including the main stadium where opening and closing ceremonies were held.
While having fun with my camera, I spotted a lovely grouping of ducks frolicking in the waters underneath the bridge. It seemed like they were waiting and posing for my camera.
We wandered through the botanical gardens nearby and realized we should really go get some dinner after foregoing lunch earlier in the day. I found one of my favorite Northern California restaurants, Cattlemen's, nearby. I highly recommend this restaurant for prime rib and rib eye if you are a "meat and potatoes" kinda person. Simply delicious and just what we needed.

We called it a day and made plans for a great adventure the next day

More later, as the fun continues

Always the traveler, never a tourist

(ala Anthony Bourdain) Lisa

Friday, September 18, 2009

Botanical Ring, Hairclip and Bracelet

Hi there,

Just a quick post before we drive off to Portland early tomorrow a.m. I'll have the laptop with me so hopefully I will finally have time to go over the gazillion photos I've taken on our trips to catch up on blog entries. There is so much to share and write.
My fingers were itching to create so for the last several days, while I was packing all the show gear, I set aside some time to create finished projects with the Botanicals to show at Bead Fest Portland. No seed beading this time but instead I created with wire and the Professional Precision Tools.

Check out what fun things you can make with these flowers!

A hairclip accessory (BT032) or a lovely ring (BT028) with Vintaj anyone?

Or maybe three complimentary Botanicals colors (using BT001, BT024, & BT034) for a lovely pearl bracelet

Can you say FUN? a whole lotta ... lotta fun?

To view a new necklace design containing both Botanicals and Luft beads, visit my website! So many of you have asked me "how would you design with the Luft beads?" I hope I answered your call with this double bonus, showing the versatility of using both these series. The Luft beads also make great earrings too.


There are now 34 Botanical colors available for ordering on my website and most selections will be available at Bead Fest Portland. Come early to the show for the best selection, if you want to purchase the limited production colors, as they will be the first to go. There are many more floral colors in the works too. All I need is more studio time to create. These fingers are about to fall off with the hours I've put in since returning from Philly. Hard work never killed anyone and I'm not done creating even more colors as this series continues to expand.

What colors will come out of the kiln next time?

So what do you think of these design ideas?

Stock up on those 6mm crystal AB margarites! - a staple in my bead stash! They work wonders for the Botanicals.

These flowers will also make great embellishments for altered art, mix media, scrapbooks, and etc., basically just about anywhere you need a touch of Nature.

Can you see what I see?


Riding off into the sunset and looking forward to the beautiful Pacific Northwest


Monday, September 14, 2009

Bead Fest Portland, Free Pass

Hi everyone, especially Bead Fest attendees...

I've got you set up here with a FREE invitation to visit the Portland show coming up the weekend of Sept 24-27. If you can come on preview night, you get first dibs on everything. We will be opened from 5-9p.m.

So save some money on admission to spend at the show... and print out the following FREE pass below to the upcoming Bead Fest show. (Right click and save on your desktop to print out!)

Make sure you come visit me at booth 218! I will have nearly THIRTY colors of Botanicals as well as tons of new pearls. Come to also see the Plum Blossom necklace.

We'll be driving up to Portland this year so will be leaving early to enjoy the road trip. I'll make sure I take lots of photos and share on the blog later or maybe even during the trip.

See ya all in Portland!


Monday, September 7, 2009

Beadwork Oct/Nov 2009 Designer of the Year Project: Plum Blossom

Just wanted to share photos of how the Plum Blossom necklaces are worn. I will post additional comments and give you the nitty gritty on seed colors I used later. When time permits, I will also backtrack to previous Designer of the Year projects to write about them. I'm trying to make up for lost time...haha...

Become a modern flapper with this necklace. The blue version below has a slightly different rope that is not covered in the Beadwork article. It is a twisted Ndebele (Herringbone) rope. It will be gifted soon to my friend Jannell Botto of Specialty Beads. You can really tweak this design and use the beaded Plum Blossoms (Ume) as bracelet or ring embellishments. I also see possibilities with the Botanicals in this design.

Hmmm... I think I sense a beaded project in my future.

These necklaces will be showcased at Bead Fest Portland. YAY! I'll actually be wearing one.

I'll also periodically post my show escapades from this year. I have a lot to catch up on with the blog... so you'll know that I am not sitting around... doing nothing. heheh...


Many have asked at shows... no I am not working on a new book right now. I do think about potential projects all the time though. You should see the amount of new research and reference materials I have collected for my library shelves ... and to be honest magazine clippings are all over the floor too. I collect ideas from many sources and they end up in almost every room. I am currently taking a break from designing/beading to refresh myself while focusing on my glasswork.

One can realistically create and devote themselves to one medium at a time without resulting in cruddy work. And I DON'T have any desire to create cruddy work...

I WILL return back to designing and beading when the time is right... when the tiny seeds start yelling at me... that is, if I am not knitting, which I also miss. ;o) (I'll also share and write about knitting again soon.)

I'll write more on this post later... time to head to the studio for another 12+ hour day... at least it has cooled down a bit here and we are surviving the fires. But these fingers, hands and arms are aching from working these hours!

Anything for the sake of art... even if these arms fall off. ;oP


Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Biggest Heterosexual Male Fan ...

What is your beading skill level?

Let's be honest about this question...

Exhibiting in many shows, I get many opportunities to meet different skilled level beaders. Then there are those who never ever want to imagine sewing with tiny seeds and immediately tell me that they are "stringers" or "that is WAY too much work for me." The comment I have the most trouble with is "I CAN'T do that!"

Why do I have a problem with the last comment the most? It's the word "CAN'T". I tend to want to believe that anyone can do just about anything if they put their mind and energy into it. "Never say never" and I try my darnest to never say "CAN'T" either. At least make an attempt... please? So this brings me to write about Gabriel Miller. (I had the okay from Gabriel to write about him... just so you know I'm not writing about someone behind their back! haha)

Gabriel had the most interesting introduction when he visited my booth on Sunday. He walked up and said (paraphrasing) "I think I am your biggest heterosexual male fan". Wow... I have never heard that introduction even though I have had male beaders buy my book. When I heard how my book inspired Gabriel to start beading and why he even bought my book, I thought to myself "This is what writing the book was all about".

So what was it all about? Inspiring folks to bead of ANY skill level. Sometimes beaders think they are more advanced than they really are. Sometimes beaders don't give themselves credit that they are capable of making anything if they put in the time and effort. Beadweaving is a challenge but a good challenge reaps rewards and results in an heirloom. I was totally amazed when Gabriel mentioned to me that he had never beaded before attempting the Triple Spiral Garden Lariat as his FIRST project. That is the graduation project for most and that is why it is the last project in the book. It is NOT a difficult project. It is a project that takes a lot of time and effort.

I usually recommend beginners to start with the easier projects in the front of the book and with earrings if they have never beadwoven before. Bead Romantique is not entirely advanced, the projects are gradually more difficult as you progress through the pages but begin with beginners projects like stringing/crimping if you are hesitant with the beadwoven projects. Then there are also a mix of wire projects consisting of making wrapped loops. Beginners tend to gravitate towards the more elaborate projects and think "I can't do that". Please change that mindset to think "I may be able to do that". And when you follow the instructions and complete a project, you may then say "I DID THAT"! Try not to give up before even making an attempt. How do you expect to grow as a beader? Fast and easy may be just fine for most but if you are like me or Gabriel, then a good challenge will keep you thinking and growing.

Gabriel shared some photos of his beading from Bead Romantique projects which were all amazing. He has also started designing his own creations. Perhaps because he is an engineer too he found the instructions straightforward and easy to understand. Gabriel was a beginner but yet he was able to complete (wonderfully, I might add) the most complicated design in the book. He put in the time and effort which took him a total of 100 hours. So it can be done and Gabriel did it (as well as 4-5 other projects from the book.) I hope sharing this story, you will have a different perspective when it comes to beadweaving. Thank you very much Gabriel for taking the time to visit my booth and share your beading journey. I hope you continue the journey and create fabulous designs of your own. You and others like you who share your beading stories, answer for me every time "This is what writing the book was all about".


I may not post much here and my friend Andrew Thornton reminded me in Philly that I should write more here. He manages to write consistently on his amazing blog nearly every day. Andrew is very disciplined. Me? I get myself in so many projects that I sometimes work 12+ hours daily getting prepped for a major show. I have lots to write about... LOTS. Finding the time and energy to get all the words and upload my gazillion photos from trips takes a lot of time. I will try my best. At times I can be a very private person and just want to keep my thoughts to myself. Then there are those times where words just flow out of me, these fingers, and you can't shut me up.

Philly Bead Fest was a challenging show last year as many of you know I had a major theft about 1 hour into the opening of the show. This year, I pleaded with the show folks to change my booth to be rid of the "bad vibes". So I was in a new fantastic location next to my new friends Saki Silver. On many levels Philly was an excellent show. A few weeks prior I had discovered that Bead Romantique went into it's second printing (first printing was 10,000+ copies!!). YAY! We also sold out of all the copies in the building. So things were just hopping this year and I want to thank everyone who came to the show to visit our booth. I had a few relaxing days prior to the show to enjoy with Nick, who is now able to exhibit with me.

I will share some Philly photos, meals and stories next time. We had lots of fun in Amish country, in Old City Philly, at Longwood Gardens, at the Valley Forge Historical Park... etc.

Until next time, never say "CAN'T" okay? If you are a newbie beadweaver, just start beading and you'll surprise yourself.

Keep on creating and believing,
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