Sunday, June 29, 2008

Franti in Vermont-y

For weeks I had been wanting to get tickets to see Michael Franti and Spearhead but it wasn't until the day of the show that I got it togetha. It was an outdoor concert at Shelburne Farms and part of what held me back from buying tickets was the fear of thunderstorms rollin' in (as is is customary in the afternoon/evening round these parts as of late). On Friday I checked the weather report and there was no sign of storms, so I made a half-hearted attempt at getting my friend Sherri to come, writing: "I prolly shouldn't go anyway, I have a lot of work to finish for tomorrow but it would be fun". To my surprise, she was up for it. Then I had to decide - was I? Did I really want to fork over the duckets? Did I really want to sit in a field, with bugs, and hundreds of people... and use a porta-potty (eek!)? More importantly, could I really finish all the jewelry that was very close to being done for the Market, pack up, doll up and drive there in time? I guess the answer was YES!!! Just as we decided we would go, they stopped selling the tickets online, so Sherri went all the way there to buy tickets (we thought they might sell out).

Being at a concert in a field took me back to my college days, I think the last such event I attended was - (yikes) 8 years ago! We snagged a spot right up close. We caught a bit of the Bread and Puppet show, then walked around, ate burritos and ran into lots of friends. Neither of us had ever seen Michael Franti and Spearhead before and they were just amazing. So soulful and so full of positive vibes. We danced our butts off and boy was it hot out and sooooo humid but that didn't stop us! While dancing, my friend Meghan (McCormick) took this sublime photo of Michael with my camera. Since this was an early show (6-9:30) there were children and families all around. People were dancing and eating and hoola-hooping and smiling and... enjoying life. The setting sun provided a lovely backdrop to this already ethereal scene. The whole experience just felt so wholesome and nourishing and Vermont-y. This is why I live here.

We even had a "My Blue Heaven" moment. I had recently watched that movie (for the, I don't know, 100th time) and I love the scene where Joan Cusack just lets loose dancing to the Meringue at dusk. Once the sun went down, it felt easier to dance and Sherri and I went skipping and spinning through the fields. And to think I almost missed this.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I'm probably one of a handful of people (of my generation) who doesn't have an ipod - not even a nano... or a shuffle.  I never wanted one.  The idea of listening to the same songs again and again doesn't do it for me.   Songs get so easily stuck in my head and spin -"right round baby right round, like a record baby..." (d'oh, now that will be in my head all day!). It's madness and it can keep me from falling asleep.  Sometimes I wake up with the same song I fell asleep with, on repeat in my mind, right where I left off.  Does this happen to other people? 

For years I was doing just fine listening to a local, commercial free radio station that played international music. One day, the station vanished and in its place - just static. 

I don't drive too often but when I do its for long rides, rides where I get so tired I worry about nodding out - BAD!  I kept buying comedy CDs on Itunes which would keep me awake but, like the songs, I could get whole routines stuck in my head if I listened to them a few times. Plus, at $9.99 each, they really added up.  

The solution: XM Radio!  I LOVE the idea of a constant, fresh, stream of music and comedy.  It is literally refreshing.  I tried it out for the first time today and it was great, it may not be life changing but it improves the ride.  

Monday, June 16, 2008

Blogger's block

Every few days a blog idea seems to effortlessly formulate but it's been over a week now and the pressure of THE BLOG is getting to me.  I've been really busy but nothing really comes to mind to blog about. So I guess I'll keep this brief...
It was so great to be back at the Market.  The
rain held off until late afternoon.  The weekend was fun and friend-filled.  Now I'm taking photos of new work and then... making more work.  I just listed several pieces (including the 3 posted here) on Etsy and I'll add more tonight.  

Monday, June 9, 2008

I'm not in Kansas anymore... I mean Milwaukee

A Twister, a twister!  Ok, there were no twisters but there was lots of potential!  Our last class on Friday was interrupted by sirens and the threat of having to seek shelter. Everyone was too busy making luscious silver and gold pendants to heed them and we felt pretty safe where we were. The warnings passed and then there was the fun of having to pack everything up - for 5 hours! Ugh!  

We spent Saturday shopping at the Bead show (woo-hoo!) and shopping around town.  Little did we know that we would be smack straight in the middle of another storm - what felt like a hurricane.  We leisurely lunched and hit up a thrift store and boy was it getting dark out. We walked outside and it was just downpouring.  We thought we could wait it out in the best shop in Milwaukee, ArtAsia.  This place has transformed in the past 2 years.  It is now a ginourmous gallery/museum.  We saw it being set up last year and now, like magic, it is all done and fabulous.  Deep in the bowels of the dimly lit store, I was surrounded by the drone of monks chanting through the speakers, followed by huge thunder crashes.  Suddenly the experience was very heady and I felt connected to my time in Japan, and the same feeling as when I play a singing bowl.  OmmmmmmmmmmmmmCRASHmmmmmCRASHmmmmmmm.  

We called a cab to take us back to the hotel and got drenched racing from the store to it. The streets were flooded, the lightning as if we were under a strobe, I WAS TERRIFIED!  Was this the apocalypse?  We made it back to the hotel and crowds of people were in the lobby and standing by the doors.  The roof was leaking, cars looked like they were about to float away, things were chaotic.  And then it was over.  

Until yesterday when sheets of rain were coming down before we left for the airport. We were so lucky that are plane wasn't delayed, until it was.  We sat on the tarmac for 2 hours waiting for a new route to get us around massive storms in Michigan.  Ugh.  

All was forgotten when I was reunited with my little pup!  We got home late last night to an enchanting star-filled sky and fireflies and apparently a jungle that was the yard. Everything shot up 2 feet or more and its a little intimidating!  I'm writing this inches from a fan cause it is crazy hot.  I plan to finish many of the pieces I started out there and have them in my Etsy shop at the end of the week.  

Here's a few random shots from the trip.
Here's me, dog tired, at the end of the day.  

This was the view from our hotel room (not bad).  

I took the last shot on our walk downtown, someone placed a bubble machine in a window (awesome!).

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Life is just what happens in between Bead and Button Shows...

This is my 7th year assisting Celie with her classes at the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee, WI.  What an intense way to spend 9 days!  We spend 11 months and 2 weeks of every year either recovering from or getting ready for this show.  We teach 5 classes which have up to 25 students in each class so a lot of preparation is involved (ordering, packaging student's work kits, packing supplies, writing handouts...).
As I entered the revolving door of the hotel, I had the sense of the cumulative years of entering through that door revolving as well.  How fast the time goes!  The hotel is connected to the convention center via an enclosed 'skywalk' which means days can go by without breathing an atom of fresh air.  Yikes.  This year we're making a concerted effort to take 'air' breaks every now and again!  
We have come to really enjoy Milwaukee.  There are great restaurants and shops, the people are very kind and over the years we've found all of the places to get all of the things we need when we're here.  We usually have a free afternoon during our stay and spend it in the "Historic Third Ward" which is a kind of pedestrian marketplace with fabulous shops and boutiques and lovely caf├ęs.  Its always hard not to spend the money I've saved (for buying beads at the show). Which is to say that I did, in fact, drop some dough at the new Anthropologie store.  Oops.

So far the classes are running smoothly.  My job is to do everything I can do (readying the students spots with kits/handouts/supplies; loading/unloading kilns, setting up supply tables, displaying Celie's jewelry and being 'on call' for anything she might need -including coffee) so that she can concentrate on teaching and working with students.  We've got our routine so down that we barely need to communicate when setting up/cleaning up for a class and we're getting faster and more efficient.  Phew!

I brought so many pieces and projects to work on and I'm actually getting more work done here than I get done at home!  I've been keeping a list of things I have to buy at the show which starts on Thursday - my 'kid in a candy shop' day, can't wait!  

Guess I should get back to work.  I'll write more about the show later in the week.  It's been wonderful seeing so many familiar faces here and many people have told me they've read my article and they've been reading my blog which is great to hear because I have no idea if anyone is reading this.  I was told that several folks tried to leave comments and couldn't so I just changed my settings and now anyone can post one (I had it on the wrong setting).  I'd love some comments!  Be well! 
Oh yeah, so these pictures have nothing to do with this entry but what is a blog without photos so I thought I'd showcase one of my new designs; my "Rags and Riches" necklace/bracelet.  I love to make things reversible, why not transformable? Each necklace, made up of coordinated strands of silk, chain and beads becomes a bold bracelet when wrapped around the wrist 3 times.  I've sold all 3 pictured here but I'm making more now!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

What a magnificent year for lilacs!  Never have I smelled such perfectly perfumed air.  Walking outside I felt like I was in a commercial for lilac-scented...lilacs.  They surround the yard in a wall of purple and pink and you can hear the buzzing of bees and hum of hummingbirds and everything seems so alive and living!  As you can imagine, it was a hard to leave (I'm in Milwaukee with Celie, teaching at the Bead and Button Show).  So before I left, I took in a sharp inhale, trying to breathe it all in because when we get back, they will be gone.  Its a sight and smell I'll never forget and always cherish.                                                                     
It was also oh-so hard to leave my little Kiwi.  In this pic she was sunning herself and watching me outside take the lilac photos.  She's happy though, she's with Celie's dogs and their doggie relatives staying with friends in Boston.  I have so many photos of her, I might just add a 'Kiwi Gallery' to my website.  Okay, I can't write any more about her or I'll turn to a weeping pile of mush.  I'll write about the Bead and Button Show soon.   Happy June!