Thursday, 9 May 2013

THE BEAD WORKS!

I LOVE SHINY!

and

I LOVE BEADS!

I am not interested in wearing them but I love to possess them and make them into something else, namely, PERFUME BOTTLES!  I have been collecting them for a very long time and during the 12 years that I spent away from miniatures, I continued to collect beads and findings until I had sooo much that I had to get rid of some of them and kept only the best of the lot.  Now since I have more bead space, I have filled it up to the max with beads that I find pretty, nicely shaped or shiny!  This posting is all about my current collection and how I shop for beads and where I find them, more than how to make perfume trays.  I want to get you thinking about the possibilities of where they are available because not everybody has craft superstores or wants to spend big dollars on a tiny handful of crystal beads.  I look for bargains but sometimes there is a trade off as to what I get for what I spend, and is it worth it.   Many years ago back in the 80's, when I was fascinated but unknowing about where to look for crystal beads, I made a trip down to a trendy bead store in Vancouver with Janine, and began gathering all the shiny pretty beads that I could and had a small handful that I took to the register and I was
 SHOCKED!
I think I had the equivalent of about a tablespoon of the tiny crystals and they totaled over $50!  Whaaaa!  Some had to be removed and that too was a big disappointment and then to have to pay so much for so little was maddening!
They were real Crystals and I was too embarrassed to go putting it ALL back. I should have looked at the price as I collected them and yet they were so pretty and I was so foolish.  I still spend money on my beads but not like I use to.  Beads are still expensive and if you buy them at the bead store or the craft stores they are still more than they should be.  My biggest supplier is the THRIFT STORES.  I find the most beads for my money there and I look for anything in any medium be it paper, plastic, glass, crystal, wood, or ceramic ANYTHING, that translates well into something that looks like a bottle or a top of a bottle or a jar or a bud vase or a section of a mini candlestick, etc. If I like the shape but not the color, they can be painted. If the price is a little higher than I want then I think about the quantity or the uniqueness of what I am considering and then make up my mind.  Sometimes I pay a lot for one piece and then a very little for all the rest of the other items in my cart.  So there is an average price.  I try to be careful with my money but at times "the call of the shiny" is just too hard to resist.  Here is what I do with the things that cry out to 'the magpie' in me.





When I am looking for beads I am looking for the possibilities of them working as perfume bottles. I look for any materials that I think will work.  The tray above has glass, metal and plastic beads in a variety of shapes and sizes and color.  I try to unify the grouping with a common denominator, which is why it takes me a long time to do them. 
Assorted shiny beads that are going to be transformed. They all are different shapes and are all pretty flat.  I wish I could remember where I bought these because flat colored glass is not so easy to find.  These make wonderful perfume bottles!
See what I mean?
The collection that is going to the M.C.B.C show in June

*******

So this is what I look for when I am 'goodwill' hunting
QUANTITY
This necklace I nearly changed my mind about.  Then I thought about the quantity of metal bits that were on the string and went ahead with the purchase.  I always try to think about how much I am getting for the money, and in this case it was a lot!

These are the metal pieces with the clear beads that were between them.  What shall I do with them?
I'll think about it and let you know.
This is a bracelet ( $2.99) with hundreds of beads that will look good as caps for bottles! I love the colors and blue and green beads are the colors that I have the most of. Here is what I can do with them.
A bracelet with some beautiful glass beads that will make wonderful bottles
No muss no fuss!
JUST SLAP ON A LABEL
This was ready made!  Line ups of perfume bottles one after the other on a elastic bracelet from the thrift store.  Perfect!
These beads came from Michael's craft store and I got them on sale!  They are nice and shiny and have a beautiful shape AND  there were LOTS of them on the string!
Here is one of a pair of dangly earrings that had a chorus line of  square crystal beads on super fine chains!  I was enchanted!
Another single earring of a set that is going to be used for tops of bottles.
LOTS AND LOTS OF SHINY BEADS
******

SHAPE
I am always on the lookout for interesting shapes and tall rectangular bead shapes make for very interesting bottles. This is part of a necklace from the thrift store for 5 dollars that has a bottle with a silver top ready  to go!  The metal tops totaled about 45 individually and there are 8 of these mother of pearl bottle shapes along with other silver toned beads.
SCORE! 
These have a great shape and a great color!
And look at the ones below on the plastic thread. They are square squat beads with a center  hole and are flat on the hole ends but have a pyramid shape on either side.
Wow! and only 3 dollars for a string of about 35 beads, not including the pearls!
The swirl in this is so lovely and again the spacer is a built in bottle top!
This necklace was $2.99 and only had 3 of these lovely beads on it, so not the best deal but it had 17 of the white 'tops' and 5 of the smaller blue glass beads so not so bad all together.

****

COLOR
Blue seems to be everywhere and I have to buy another container because there are always blue beads to be found.  The color of this watery blue and the shape of the bead caught my attention at $1.99 at the thrift store.  
At $2.99 these fabulous beads on a long necklace string, of the assorted sizes and shapes and with the most spectacular coloring! I love it!
*****

TEXTURE
These 3 strings of metal spacers all came from WAL-MART in their crafting section.  They were $2.50 each.  I chose them for the shape and the texture.
Gold is ALWAYS usable and these came at a good price and the variety of sizes and shapes make them very versatile as either bottles or tops or both!

This is just one of 5 boxes that house the metal odds and sods that I use for my projects. I try to sort the metal by size and texture and shape. 
 It ain't easy.
***

STORAGE

After I purchase the beads I have to store them where I can see them and the best way for me now is to have them in mason jars.  I use to have them in a large fishing tackle box and they kept getting mixed up.  When I want a particular color I go to the jar and then I pour the beads out onto a lid and them pour them back into the jar when done.  I have more blue and green beads than any thing else and I am going to need some additional jars very soon as you can plainly see. 

BUT I CAN NEVE HAVE ENOUGH
because
I love beads!
and
I love shiny!
and
I love to make miniatures!



elizabeth

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

"I'M IN THE GARDEN!"

We have FINALLY had some warm and even HOT weather here in the Vancouver area and so I was able to get out into my Real LIfe garden and do a much needed clean up!  It doesn't take much for it to revert to back to chaos and having it be sooooo cold for so long allowed the garden to go WILD!  This is a photo of the back garden which began life as a lumpy green sward with a live stump which had roots that snaked over the surface and sent out suckers everywhere.  As soon as I could I had the entire back turf uprooted and removed along with the stump and installed as much paving as I could leaving only just a little bit of grass in between two patios.  You can see the Magnolia trees in bloom at the very back of the garden.  Mine always bloom later than others in the area because the garden is almost fully enclosed. A high retaining wall with a row of evergreens runs the length of the garden to the left and directly across the back.  The house is on the right and only the front of the garden entry is exposed to the public.  Lots of privacy!

.
I had the house painted this tropical yellow about 10 years ago and the paint has hardly faded.  Yellow is not my favorite color but I was going through a mild depression at the time and needed something that would make me smile when I was feeling down.  This color always does that in the summer. In the winter it does not look the same and because in this part of the world where the light is more grey and muted this color can appear rather sharp but now with more sunshine it is just right!
The 2 black metal chairs are from the thrift store and I reupholstered the seats and added a bolster.  They are quite comfortable but they can be scorching hot in the middle of summer.  Here it is May and so few flowers are in bloom!? Also there are next to NO BEES!?  This greatly concerns me.

This is back end of the back garden where there USE to be some grass between the round patio and the main one.  You'll see the reason WHY there isn't any grass anymore but only a patchy mess, in just a moment.
I planted all of the boxwood that you see and I as sooo happy with it.  It keeps the garden ordered and even in the winter the garden has shape and is green,( when it is not covered with snow).  The mirror that you see against the garden wall is a mirror that I purchased from a home decor store and the white frame around it is the table top of a old patio table that was rusted and peeling and purchased from a thrift store.  I secured the mirror to the centre of the table top and then fastened them both to the garden wall.  It gives a nice focal point and I love the size of it!

Here is a closer view of the mirror and the ground cover under the right Magnolia!  Almost 11 years ago, Janine and I spent the entire day trying to dig out the GOUTWEED/BISHOPS WEED that used to grow under the trees!  We tried to dig it out and then to smother it.
  
FAIL.
  
I finally had to succumb to the use of a powerful pesticide and then had to wait a least 6 weeks before it was all at last dead.  I avoid poisons in my garden and want the healthiest environment as possible but this weed was impossible and even after all that I still found survivors periodically for the next year!  There is a less invasive variety but even when a friend of mine put that in her garden, I warned her but she wouldn't listen.....!
(Now she wishes she had!)
What you see now is Spanish bluebells, in bloom, Dead nettle ( the variegated leaves), violets still in bloom and the rounded leaves of  Lady's Mantle which has delightful sprays of tiny acid yellow flowers in the summer, and which hold onto raindrops and present them as tiny glistening jewels on their leaves.  I love this plant and it loves my garden as it self seeds and turns up every where all by itself.
The canopy of shrubs from the neighbors garden and the magnolia from mine

The round patio and the back corner of the lower back garden.  This section is always a late starter.  In the summer it is too hot and in constant need of water.


A large pot of perennial geraniums that have a fragrance in the leaves.  This plant is usually alive with bees but I have only seen ONE BEE!
 
This does not bode well for next year.
And this is the reason that the grass is so patchy!
Meet SADIE BEAR!  My Lassa,lassa, poopoo!
Sadie is 2 years old and this is just before her hair cut so she is very wooly still.  Her daddy, MAX MAXWELL is twelve years old and is my other dog.  Sadie is good company and is full of energy and is just as headstrong as her daddy, only he is much slower now than he use to be. Poor Max!

A long view of the patio and the raised planter to the left.  There are hydrangeas, roses, a Japanese maple tree, and 5 different clematis.  Perennial geraniums, variegated hostas, oregano, sweet woodruff, and spanish bluebells in this planter. Not all of it was planted by me, some just decided to move in and made itself at home.  Right now though there is just green.  When the roses come out next month I will show you what it looks like because the SIGHT and the FRAGRANCE is incredible!
So thank you for your visit and I hope that you are not too weary or bored with this tour.  I love the back garden and when the flowers come out I praise God and thank Him for the opportunity to see His handiwork up close and personal.  It always fascinates me and leaves me in Awe.  Earth is crammed with heaven!....



elizabeth