Good Stuff

We got a lot of stone and pearls today. Walked miles. Went to 3 shows, ate dinner, priced till now. It’s 1AM here.

But look at these ever-so-lovely tourmalines:
And these – amethyst, chrome diopside, London Blue topaz, and Champagne quartz.

And we would’ve taken a picture of the huge pile of stone, including two new ones that we haven’t seen before, but the camera battery died. So just pretend. It was all mounded up on the desk, big pile. Now all of them are priced and tucked between layers of bubble wrap, ready for the trip home. Some of the pearls are just too pretty to imagine. There are a lot of colors of keishi pearls (little potato chip looking puppies) and some round ones in colors to make you sigh. I want to keep them all for myself, I have fantasies of grabbing them out of people’s hands and saying “No pearls for You!” or something.

And, to make me stop whining about my feet, I got to go to see Sharon Peters, and bought a wonderful WONDERFUL flatfish. Here she is, holding my new fish. Now I’m not allowed to whine for at least 36 hours, so it’s a good thing I like him so much.

Tomorrow we do it again!

See? I told you the signs said that

Yesterday we told you about the really cool road signs. Here one is:

After that, we passed our last landmark on the way, the big rocks.
A Mobil geologist told me once that there were only 4 kinds of rocks. Jewelry rocks, throwing rocks, desk rocks, and rocks that are too big to do anything with. These are clearly the latter kind. Oh, and if you look closely, there’s some kind of white frozen water-stuff scattered on the ground and rocks. The low was below 25 last night, and it seems to have caused that stuff. In the desert outside Tucson. We’re not thinking about it.

On our first day of shopping, we got some really cool turquoise hearts, and some fat turquoise disks with big holes across them. And some nice coral in lots of shapes and colors. And some hugely glittery butterflies.

Then we had a nice sushi dinner. Very nice. Tempura bananas are a lovely dessert.

Oh, and if nobody comments on anything (by clicking on the “comments” below) I’m just talking to myself out here. Which is worse than talking to my cats, because at least they talk back. Hello?????

Driving Driving Driving

We left Fort Worth at the crack of 9, and drove and drove and drove, and we were still 100 miles from El Paso.  Where we ran into sandstorms, wind, and more wind. 

Just outside Deming, we saw our favorite roadsigns ever:  “Dust storms may exist.”

Really, that’s what they say!  Others say “Zero visibility possible” but the fact that dust storms may or may not exist, it seems so Quantum Physics or something.

If we can get a picture of one tomorrow, we’ll post it.  If the signs exist.

New Horizons in Fiber 2008

The Dallas area fiber artists are having their 2008 meeting Friday February 1st through Sunday the 3rd, in Plano.  Click here for more information:  or to sign up.  Why are we mentioning this?  Because our teacher Elizabeth Harkins is teaching The Art of Bead Embroidery and 3-D Bead Techniques at the conference!

And it’s 10 days until we leave for Tucson!  We plan to have nightly posts here, to let you in on the fun and show you what we bought that day. 

Knitting Markers

While hanging around in a local knitting shop, I saw some lovely beaded knitting markers.  (You know, those things that slide over needles to mark a specific place in the pattern or to count a block of stitches.)  Then I saw the prices, and noticed that for me, at least, they weren’t quite tough enough.  And I thought “Well, heck!  I can do better than that!” and came home and figured it out.  Total cost for 25 markers, 15 dollars, but I used expensive beads.

Materials:  8mm-12mm glass beads, 18 gauge wire (I used copper) (20 gauge will also work, or even 22 for small needle markers)
Tools:  Round-nose pliers, wire cutter, big fat marker or knitting needle or something else to wrap around


  • Cut around 4″ of wire, and make as teeny a loop on one end as possible.  (Hammering the end flat to widen it also holds the bead, but snags yarn unless you have a good way to smooth the wire.)


  • Slide on a bead, bend the wire 90 degrees to start your wrapped loop.  Wrap the wire around the big fat marker, or large knitting needle, or whatever template you’re using.  (The wire looks twisted, but that’s just the picture.  It’s NOT twisted.)


  • Wrap the wire two or three times around the “neck” of the wire above the bead.  I find it easier to leave the loop over the template while wrapping.


  • Cut the tail off and use your chain-nose (flat) pliers to squash any leftover bit into the coil.


I made some with two beads, to mark the centers on my kntting.  There will be some samples at the store after Friday.

Why so many new faces?

Well, that’s the sad part.  Kathy Meredith, known as Poptart, is leaving The Artful Bead.  Her husband has a job in Kansas, and he thinks that it’s too far away to commute daily from Fort Worth.  So they’re moving soon.


This is NOT OK, but we’ve decided that since she’s been with Woody longer than she’s been with us, we aren’t really in a position to insist or anything.  We are going to make sure we can get color consultations by email, though.  And we’ll do our best to make her send us pictures of her newest creations, just as soon as she gets unpacked.

We’ll miss you, Poppy!!!

New faces!

If you have visited The Artful Bead lately, you might have noticed some new faces! 

First there is Jourdain, college student and part-time model.  (She and her sister, mother, and grandmother modeled the jewerly in a couple of Mary’s books!) 


 She’s a tough act to follow, so next we hired Adrian and Kim:


Adrian is a bit new to beading, but he’s catching on fast.  Kim has been a long-time customer, who decided to spend more time with us. 

And there’s Stacy, who also teaches our Silver Clay classes.  She’s not new, but we have the picture, so we’re making the most of it.


And there’s Amy, the Queen of Saturdays!  She is also a full-time student, but comes from Denton to spend Saturdays with us.  Ask her about her “Bathtub Ring” next time you see her.  (We don’t have a picture yet, but we’ll get one soon…)



We’re Getting Ready

Yes, we’re getting ready for Tucson.  The anticipation is kind of like the first few notes of the theme from Jaws. 

(nunh – na…) Do we have the boxes, bubble-wrap, and tape?  Check!

(nunh – na…) Price tags, scales, pens, baggies? Check!

(nunh – na…) A new rolly suitcase to replace the one we killed last year?  Check!

(nunh – na, nunh – na, nunh – na!) We don’t have the Therma-Care back wraps!!!  EEEEE!!!

Good thing there’s still time.  This isn’t a “shopping trip” you know.  It’s a carefully planned expedition with predefined objectives, strategies, and tactics.  We outline each day’s shopping, find out in advance where the booths of our favored vendors are this year, and mark those new ones we want to check out.  Even though we’re there for 4 days, there isn’t time to walk by every booth at every show.  So we plan.

We try to figure out where we can find all of the special requests.  We think of what cool “specials” we can bring back this year.  We check the prices on silver and decide how much bargaining room the sellers might have.  (OK, realistically, with the price of silver still going up, none.  But everybody needs a dream.)

Then we pack our teeny suitcases.  We don’t need “outfits” for this.  We need shoes that won’t hurt and clothes that can take the abuse.  Also, the less space our personal stuff takes, the more beads we can bring back!

As of today, less than 5 weeks till Preview Night!