I know I haven't posted for an incredibly long time. Life isn't lending itself to having the time or inclination for blogging at the moment.... And I'm afraid this won't really break that drought - I'm merely updating an earlier post that lists all my Theatrepeople articles and Reviews, so I have them all in one spot....
MLOC is Dreaming of a White Christmas, Nov 2009
The Bougainville Photoplay Project Aug 2010
The Heartstring Hotel Oct 2010
The Little Shop is Open at OPTC Nov 2010
The Gift, and Brighter, Whiter April 2011
PEP is Singing Songs for a New World July 2011
Octave's New Island Home July 2011
A Storm in a D-Cup May 2013
Lady Rizo June 2013
Brinkering on the Teet June 2013
Everyone's Got Something to Hide (Except Me and My Monkey) July 2013
Monday, 1 July 2013
Wednesday, 4 April 2012
A few years ago, one of my beadmaking friends, the lovely Deanna Chase, who makes beautiful beads, started talking about writing a book. I think she started off with the annual challenge to write a novel in 40 days that a lot of people participate in online. I have known a number of people who express interest in writing a book, but not everyone has the talent, the drive and the creative edge to make it happen.
I was very fortunate to be able to participate in the process as Deanna worked towards her goal. I was one of a lucky group of people who got sneak updates, as I helped with proofreading and general 'Beta' reading for her, and it was great fun and very exciting to see her talent and realise that this could really be happening for her - she might very well be published!
I was so excited to see her first book Haunted on Bourbon Street come out - I had to buy it in both paperback and for Kindle, (so I could read it while waiting for my international parcel to arrive) but it would have been well worth the wait. Its a great book, not a genre that I had previously read (paranormal romance), but entertaining and with great characters and an intriguing story. And it was fun to read about a character who was a beadmaker also. I was also so touched and honoured to be mentioned in the acknowledgements.
In less than a year, Deanna then went on to complete the 2nd book, Witches of Bourbon Street and she is currently having an amazing sale, offerring both these books together in a set for only $1.99 Barnes & Noble and Amazon for a limited time. At that price, you couldn't possibly go wrong!!
Monday, 26 March 2012
A few years ago, when I first read Julie & Julia, I thought "what a great idea - wish I'd thought of that!". And I discounted anything similar as jumping on the bandwagon. But its been months since I blogged - when I'm travelling seems to be the only time I think of it, and I have a huge collection of cookbooks that don't really get used all that much lately. Partly because I tend to use them as inspiration these days, rather than actually following a recipe, partly because I don't entertain as much as I used to, and also because my husband has been doing most of the cooking for the last few years, while he hasn't been working full time.
So, without any rigorous schedule like Julie used, and without aiming at any specific cookbook, I'm going to aim to cook a new recipe of some kind, from one of my books, at least once a week.
Last night I started the ball rolling with a recipe from my Slow Cooking cookbook. I bought some very lean diced pork at the Asian grocers this week, so I went looking for a recipe to use it. I settled on Portuguese Pork with Cumin and to accompany it, I made Darphin Potatoes from a new book The Original Masterclass: Le Cordon Bleu: Potatoes.
Saturday, 17 September 2011
Well, checking a few of the blog links showed that people seemed to have started posting already, so I guess I'm not going to worry about my timezone making me ahead of schedule. :) My partner is Terry from Starseed Jewelry (guess I better use the US spelling, since its her business name ;) ). Terry works in Polymer clay, which is a totally new medium for me. While I have seen some techniques that remind me of the look of some lampworking techniques, they are basically very different, and the charming rustic style of this bead soup in particular. Lori's goes to a lot of effort to pair us up, and one of her criteria is the aim to push us outside our comfort zone and in a different direction. The bead soup I received is quite a departure from what I usually work with, so it was an interesting challenge.
One of the suggested approaches for this exchange is to mix beads you already have with the Bead Soup you receive. At first glance, I didn't think that was likely to work for me. I didn't think the style of my own handmade glass beads was going to suit, and the Swarovski crystal and Bali Silver I normally use just didn't seem to 'speak to' the polymer clay beads I received. In search of inspiration, I rummaged through my jewellery cupboard (I think all crafters, and jewellery designers in particular are terrible hoarders) and looked for some materials that were a little more earthy, and had some interesting texture, that would work to the best advantage with Terri's beads. I stumbled across all kinds of things I didn't know I had.... elephants carved out of bone, copper spacer beads, chunky crystals and a range of small glass beads.
With all of that laid out before me, the next step was to work out what to string them on, and what sort of design I was going for. I have never worked with a clasp like that. I wanted to make a feature of it in the jewellery, and show off the beautiful colour and interesting texture, but I wasn't sure how to even attach them. I'm used to working with clasps with a loop and generally rely on softflex and silver crimps, but it looked like the toggle would need wire wrapping. I did consider fibre, and found some just the right colour, but the holes in some of the beads were not large enough.... Back to rummaging through my 'stash' and I discovered some brass wire, and my kit from a class in silver wire crochet from Glasstock in 2009. An idea started to emerge - I wanted something eclectic and textural, to match the variety of beads I was going to use. I had to google crochet to remind myself how to start off, but then it all came together. I crocheted 2 strands filled with beads, featuring Terri's focal front and centre, and twisted them together, wire wrapping the ends onto the funky clay toggle.
I was pleased with the result, and I hope you like it - it was a real challenge to move away from my 'norm' and do something different. The colour is a bit off in some of the pics, due to a fairly hurried photo shoot this afternoon, but hopefully you get the idea. Thanks Terri and Lori for the fun of this exchange - and the creative challenge!! I don't think I'll be temped away form glass any time soon though - I just love the high gloss finish and the smooth texture of glass.
The first set of beads that my exchange partner sent me arrived unexpectedly yesterday. Talk about coming down to the wire! I was beginning to think the 2nd set, which she kindly sent to replace the beads that seemed to have decided to take a vacation on the way down under, were going to arrive first...
The show and tell part of this little Blog party is supposed to start on the 17th. Well... it is the 17th here, but so I don't jump the gun, I'm just going to post a little teaser pic for now, and then go and hit the torch. I'll post the finished jewellery tonight, which will be almost the 17th, US time. :)
The pic above shows the beads I was sent, but doesn't have a pic of the polymer clay toggle that was included also. I didn't get a pic of the beads before I started putting them together, and for Terri didn't include the Toggle in the photo she sent me to...
Check out the other participants blogs over the next few weeks - there is a complete list here. And don't forget to pop back and see the finished piece later!
Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Yesterday, after a tiring but enjoyable day taking photos with a class full of year 10 students throughout Melbourne and St Kilda, I ended up back at Federation Square, where my husband had met me to attend a friend's exhibition opening. That morning, I had seen the exterior of a fascinating new art installation in Federation Square entitles 'Tape Melbourne', a huge, alien-esque sculpture suspended from the buildings, created entirely from packing tape. It looked fantastic from the outside, but on chatting with one of the creators, and the Project Manager, I learnt that they were hoping it would be declared safe enough to open to the public. Heading back with DH that afternoon, we were able to climb inside, after shedding shoes and anything sharp :). It was a lot of fun, an amazing experience to be inside. It gave when you moved, like a hammock - in fact, the narrow pathways grabbed you as you tried to crawl through. It was very comfortable, but made disconcerting squeaking noises when you moved - was that just the tape squeaking, or was it going to give way? It is transparent in parts, so it feels quite ephemeral, but its deceptively strong. It was a very interesting experience - so glad I was in there at the right time! Well worth checking out if you are in Melbourne!
The photos are from 3 sources - the interior shots were taken with my little canon 'point n shoot', the exterior shots are were taken with my DSLR Nikon D7000, and the night shots were downloaded from the Fed Square blog...
Sunday, 11 September 2011
Unfortunately, due to the vagaries of international postage, my bead soup hasn't arrived yet. I will try and get some photos up of my most recent work so there is something for people to look at when they drop by for the big Blog Hop on the 17th..... fingers crossed, the beads will arrive by then and I can get something up. My partner and our exchange host have both offerred to send more, but I just know the original ones will arrive the day after they post something :). Keep your fingers crossed!
Labels: bead soup
Friday, 19 August 2011
While I was away, I saw some announcements online for the upcoming Bead Soup Blog party. I have been aware of this event for several years, and had often wished to be involved, but I never heard about it early enough to sign up. This year I did, but the sign up period was while I was in the air flying home from my trip! It's a conspiracy I swear :). Anyway, a friend organised my sign up while I was travelling, so this year, I'm involved. It was a real rush to get some new beads made and sent out in the short period between my return and the postal deadline, but I made it, and my beads are winging their way to the US as we speak. My exchange partner has also sent my bead soup mix, and I will post some pics as soon as it arrives. The basic premise of this exchange is to send a beautiful clasp, and a focal pendant-worthy bead, as well as some 'supporting' beads, that can all be put together to make a piece of jewellery, combined with extra pieces they might already have. So half the fun is the anticipation of not knowing what you are getting. My partner is a polymer clay artist I believe, so that will be new for me - Ive never made jewellery with polymer clay beads before.
Wednesday, 10 August 2011
I guess its a sign of a great trip that I didn't really have time or inclination to blog while I was away? Unlike other travels I undertake, my trips to the US are all about the people... and the glass, but definitely the people. Its great to see the country, and some places have been highlights, but I choose my itinerary based on who I will visit, or what classes I will attend, not on tourist attractions or scenery. This last trip was no exception. I visited dearly missed close friends and stayed with wonderful, brave people who took a chance on a random visiting Australian, and I had a fantastic time. The ISGB Gathering was an amazing way to wind things up. If I hadn't been flat out learning and having fun with a few hundred like minded glass peeps, I would have been quite homesick by the end of the trip, but there was very little time to pine for home. I brought home wonderful memories, and some amazing new pieces for my glass collection. Importantly, I also brought home new found enthusiasm and inspiration for my glass. I am intending to change direction slightly, and get a bit more focused and disciplined with my glass. I want to explore and develop more deeply some of my own original ideas I've produced, and then moved on from, over the years. And I intend to actively plan my beads more. Sharon Peters talk about inspiration and creativity was quite inspiring for me. I guess it wasn't anything I didn't already know, as a secondary art teacher, but I have resisted that approach for some reason, to my glass. So, now I have a new sketchbook for beads, and a bunch of photos of designs, patterns, colours etc to start off with for inspiration. I doubt I will use it religiously - its just not my style, but there are already plenty of ideas to be going on with in those pages - something I've been lacking for quite some time. So, I'm happy to be home, and looking forward to playing with some new ideas at the torch. But first I have to finish the remaining 100 blue and yellow beads I'm making for SCA tokens - it's going to be such a pleasure to use other colours when I'm done!!
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
I spent a few days last week in reading with a friend, as I mentioned last post. We had a great time - very busy, but we still had time to hang out and chat also. We went to see The Feeling at the 'Kew the Music' festival in Kew Gardens, which was a fantastic night. It was my birthday gift from my friend, and we took a picnic and drank Rose cider (highly appropriate, as one of our favourite Feeling songs is Rose') and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The Noisettes, who also played that night.... What an energetic performer!! Sophie Ellis-Bextor sang a song with The feeling on their new album.... The next day we took the train to Cardiff and spent the afternoon at Cardiff castle, and around the Bay near the Milennium centre and Roald Dahl Plass (in other words, Torchwood Country!!!). I flew into New York from the UK, and had a few brief few hours there with another friend, and we went to see 'Hair'. It was a great performance - all the singers were amazing, musically very tight, and full of energy. It was a little disappointing to not be able to clearly understand all the lyrics, but it was surprisingly easy to forgive, because it just sounded so good. At the end of the show they invited the audience on stage, and as I was sitting in the 2nd row, I was able to make it up there. So, less than 24 hours in New York and I got the opportunity to dance on a Broadway stage, albeit briefly, which was fantastic! I am currently in Memphis, attending and presenting at The Laptop Institute, an educational conference for 1:1 laptop programs in schools. I presented once today, and have two more to go tomorrow. Then I'm off to Raleigh, and am really on holidays, with no work related obligations at all!