Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Beader on the Go

Oh, how I've missed making a few posts here! I've been busy with a bit of travel, keeping up with many, many snow days, and doing a bit of knitting. I'll start off with my travel first.

Early in February is an amazing gem, mineral and bead show in Tucson. To call it a show, is to call the Grand Canyon a hole in the ground. This show takes over the entire town of Tucson and overflows into the neighboring area. I blogged a bit about my experiences here, over on the Halcraft USA blog, but I didn't talk about being a "beader on the go."

While I was in Tucson I stayed with my wonderful parents who winter there. It was like going back in time, having them cook for me and being the ONLY child. I haven't made a trip to Tucson on my own in about 4 years!

Powering up with a great breakfast with Mom & Dad before a big day of walking the shows.
The shows are wonderful. I always like to make it to the shows that specialize in beads, The Whole Bead Show, Best Bead Show, and To Bead True Blue. Here's where you'll see lots of the most popular booths in the beading world, but one of my favorite things this year was all of the lovely chain. It was scrumptious.
I bought some large chain as well as some smaller chain, but these colored glass link chains and pearl chains were as tempting as anything I saw.
 I hadn't planned on wanting to make anything, especially since I hadn't brought my beading tools, but I saw Sara Ohler at the SoftFlex booth and treated myself to some wonderful tools that I'd been coveting for over a year. I wanted to be able to hold them in my hands to decide what I liked best--and whether they seemed worth the money--and I'm so glad that I waited until I had that chance. Because I found some beads and chain that I loved and had an idea for, I decided to go ahead and get them. I've LOVED using them ever since I got back. Here's what I made that night to wear to a business meeting. I had to make two necklaces...a girl's gotta have options, right?

The blue lapis beads on the right were perfect for a bib-style statement necklace with a simple chain and gold rounds to separate them.
I splurged on these three hollow handmade glass beads. I made them into a long, simple necklace. They don't need much to shine.
Here are some more images from the show. Enjoy!
Huge amethyst crystals
I'm in love with milagros and hearts. This is perfect!
Tucson Tamale Company! Try it if you ever get the chance!
I loved Brenda Schweder's jig. It's easy to use and so much fun!
Double yum.
Triple yum.
Quadruple yum.
I saw so many tassels. I still wish I had bought one of these gorgeous necklaces.
Etched amber.
One of the best parts of Tucson is the opportunity for hiking. I always try to take a hike while I'm there. This year, I went to Madera Canyon, a place which is unique in that it is less desert-like than most of the surrounding area. The elevation and valley combine to make a microclimate that birds, mountain lions, and many other unique plant and animal species find appealing. It's a great place for birding and has multiple hikes that range in difficulty from easy hour-long walks along paved paths to full-day hikes with significant elevation changes and beautiful vistas.

If you're lucky enough, you can stay at one of these picturesque villas partway up the valley.
 Another place that we loved visiting was the Tohono Chul Park and sculpture garden. A few of the cacti were blooming, and the art museum was featuring beautiful botanical and animal illustrations.

I <heart> Tucson!

Being thoroughly a tourist in my short sleeves and sandals! (I needed to soak up all the sun I could before returning to the arctic blast of Indiana, and I steered clear of any cacti that got too close to my toes!)
 My last night in Tucson, Mom & Dad and I enjoyed a fire in their little courtyard.
Visit again soon, for a bit about my knitting escapades and more about spring in Indiana!