Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011? Really?

2011???  How did this happen? I look at the number and it doesn’t look real to me. I guess that is what happens when half of your life has been lived in the 20th century.

I have never really liked New Years all that much. My birthday is one month later. To me New Years is really all about getting older. Plus I usually get a cold or the flu at that time of year. Every photo taken of me when I was a child on my birthday shows me sick in bed with a pointy birthday hat blowing out the candles.

Normally on New Years Eve we spend the evening with friends but this year it is just the two of us. Which is fine really. We have dinner reservations at a nice restaurant and then we’ll come home and watch the Twilight Zone marathon. That has been the highlight of New Years weekend for us for quite a few years now. We love those old episodes no matter how many times we see them. Rod Serling was quite a genius. Too bad he smoked like a chimney and died so young.

In one month we head out to Tucson for a glorious week communing with the desert. I cannot wait to get back there. We decided not to go for the Gem Show this year. I didn’t really spend that much time at it last year. All I wanted to do was to be outdoors. Hiking in the desert. Taking pictures. Plus it is so crowded that week. The restaurants are full to overflowing and it is nearly impossible to get into the really good places. So this year we are going the week after the Gem Show. We are staying at the same resort we stayed at last year, The Westward Look. It is a lovely place and one of the only ones without a golf course. Neither of us is really into the whole golfing mentality. They have lovely grounds and they even have a kitchen garden that the chef uses to pick food for his menu. Talk about farm to table freshness!

We have friends who spend the winter in Tucson and they keep us very busy seeing new things. This year they tell us we are going to go to see Mount Lemmon. We didn’t go last year because I was NOT interested in seeing snow. I am still not interested in seeing snow, but they insist we must see the mountain up close, so I guess we will. Of course Sabino Canyon is on the itinerary again as well as Saguaro National Park. That place blew me away last year. The quiet was so intense. You could hear the cactus breathe.

For now I will try and be patient and be in the now. Even if it is freezing and my boots leak.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Guess Who Came to Dinner

Albino Sparrow, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
I could not believe it! An albino sparrow at my bird feeder!

I just learned from an online friend that this bird is not an albino, but has a condition called leucism. You can read more about it here. Thanks Lidia!

Sorry for the not so great picture but he was moving so fast and I had to take the photo through the screen door. Plus since I was indoors, the flash went off.

It was Murphy's law of image taking!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


11th Birthday, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.

Last night Ethan, my 11 year old grandson slept over. Words cannot express how much I love seeing him and having him over. We have a special bond, he and I. Even though he lives just around the corner from my house and we see one another a few times a week, I never tire of seeing his sweet smiling face.

He lights up my life. He makes me smile. I am more like a second parent to him since he has no father. I am his “in case of emergency” person. I pay for the things his single mother cannot afford. Like sports and camp and clothing. I am only too happy to help him in any way I can. He deserves the best, he really does. He doesn’t have it easy.

He brought over a Christmas movie for us to watch as well as a few of his magic tricks. He is really into magic and is getting quite good at it.

He did manage to find my gifts for him since there aren’t too many hiding places in my tiny condo. He then proceeded to spend quite some time trying to figure out what exciting things were inside the packages. At one point he had a flashlight and was trying to look into the seams of the wrapping paper. It was quite funny. We played 20 questions about it but of course whenever he came close to guessing I clammed right up!

After a lovely dinner of Chinese food, we settled into the bedroom to watch the movie. I worked on my Bead Journal Project as we watched. It was cozy and warm. Those moments for me are so full of love I am filled to bursting. Talk about gratitude. Life hasn’t been easy for either of us. We share that.

Today is early release for the upcoming holiday, and so I will pick him up from school at around 1 o’clock.

Perhaps this afternoon we will have a lovely game of scrabble and some hot chocolate and cookies.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Warm Wishes to You All

cloudscape, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
I want to send everyone warm wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a very happy new year.

Whether you celebrate Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, Festivus, Second Thanksgiving or nothing at all.

Thank you all so much for following my blog and for your kind and thoughtful comments throughout the year. I enjoy sharing with all of you and look forward to many more posts and comments!

Enjoy the season and stay warm!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Second Thanksgiving

2 trees, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.

It is very hard being a Jew this time of the year. You don’t celebrate Christmas. You try to conform. You bring in food for the holiday party. You bring in a gift for the Yankee swap. You try and put up with the Christmas carols in the stores while you are food shopping. Even the blogosphere is all Christmas, all the time. Everybody getting ready, getting ready. But you aren’t getting ready for anything. Well actually you are getting ready for it to be over so that normal life can resume.

I still remember when I was a child, all the things I did to try and celebrate Christmas. Once after Christmas was over and trees were being discarded, I went around my neighborhood and removed the leftover tinsel from the trees and brought it home. I made my little brother stand in the corner while I decorated him with the found tinsel. I was that desperate.

Another time, I found a red bow in the trash, attached it to a pine bough from a tree in my yard and hung it on the front door. I thought my mother would die of a heart attack. She ripped it down and said we don’t celebrate Christmas. End of story!

So needless to say, when I got married the first time, my husband was not Jewish. Christmas was a big deal for his family. Of course I too went nuts. I made ornaments from felt and wood. I made gifts and decorated the house and the tree. And every year as the kids got older, the tree got bigger. The gifts were no longer hand made. There were nintendos, toaster ovens, computers, electronic games, and boxes and paper everywhere.

When we lived in Florida, Christmas was especially hard because every year my very Jewish parents would come to visit to get out of the cold. They made sure to tell us that there were to be no signs of Christmas anywhere in the house or they wouldn’t come over. So the day after Christmas we would scramble to take everything down. It wasn’t easy! But we managed. Although one year I seem to remember seeing a stray piece of tinsel in the corner of the living room and hoping they wouldn’t notice.

So now, my adult children are used to Christmas. My daughter has a tree and decorates her house with all manner of Santas, nativities, and pine boughs both real and fake.

We still have a nice family dinner with turkey and all the fixings at my house. My parents come.

We can’t call it Christmas dinner though so we call it Second Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Reposting photo

Single leaf x two, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.


Single leaf x two, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
I have had a few inquiries regarding the image on my blog yesterday of the spider plant. I will tell you a little about how I made it.

The other day I stumbled upon a scannography web site with some incredible imagery. Much to my delight, it was all done using a scanner. Now, as a graphic designer, I have a wonderful scanner. But I have only ever used it for scanning photos. And now that nearly all the photos are digital and no longer need scanning, my scanner has been collecting dust in the corner.

I have always known that you can place objects on the scanner but I never had much luck with that. I tried putting my jewelry on it but metal looks really terrible on a scanner. Too many reflections. You can see that in the bead work I have tried to scan. The colorful beads look fine but anything with any metallic sheen looks awful.

What I learned was that if you turn off all the lights in the studio and leave the cover of the scanner off, you can lay things on the scanner and get some really interesting effects. So I went all over the house, stealing leaves, both dead and alive from some of my houseplants. I got some interesting effects. On this one, I scanned in a leaf and then in Photoshop, duplicated the layer, flipped it and set it to multiply. Voila.

You can create many interesting effects this way. Some people even take the scanner outdoors and use the sky as a background instead of the darkness of a room. I think this has endless possibilities and am looking forward to trying other things with it.

Is it cheating? I guess so. But I take imagery where I can find it. Especially when it is too cold to go out with my camera.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Miscellaneous Monday Musings

Spider plant, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
I like reading blogs. Everyday I seem to find new and interesting ones that really challenge my thinking about life and living.

And they don’t always have anything to do with beading or jewelry making or art in any way.

There is one blog I follow by a woman who drives an 18 wheeler for a living. Now that is a job I would never think about doing but she writes an interesting blog about her life on the road.

Then there is the one by the career adviser with Aspergers who is married to the farmer. Now that is a blog that is NEVER dull!

Oh and I can’t forget about the doomsday writer who is counting down the days until we run out of oil. He calls it Peak Oil and reading his blog is like watching the first “Terminator”. A most depressing vision of the future. But I keep going back every Monday for more. I make no excuses.

I don’t really like the blogs that are always trying to sell me something or give me something if I post here and post there. I have stopped following those as I simply don’t have the energy for them.

I am also finding that I enjoy connecting with people through their blogs more than through facebook. There is something rather unerving about facebook. I am not sure what it is that bothers me so much about it but I do think it has a lot to do with privacy or lack thereof. When I leave a comment on a blog, I feel like I am speaking directly to that person and no one else. But on Facebook, I am speaking to everyone. I don’t really like that. It feels very invasive to me.

I like having my blog connected to facebook so that people can see my latest post but that is about the only useful thing I can find about it. Oh and it is nice to know that some of my oldest friends are still around and to see what they are doing. Other than that I am going to stick to blogs. If you have any favorites that you would like to share, I’d love to hear about them!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ultrasuede added

BJPJanuary2011, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.

So right off some mistakes were made here.

The main mistake was that I cut the Lacy's to size and it became very hard to work right up to the edge.

I had purchased a few pieces of Ultrasuede so I glued and basted the piece to the Ultrasuede. I love the color of the Ultrasuede. it is very rich and luscious. Plus now I can get a grip and am able to bead up to the edges. I still haven't figured out the best way to edge this. I'll have to wait until the beads are all in place and then see what I want to do with the border. I don't want the white of the Lacy's to show.

I am thinking that this might make a nice bag or something. Not quite sure yet since I am so inexperienced and don't know exactly where this will lead.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Care and feeding of the Birds

woodpecker, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.

It has been so cold here for the last week. To me anything under 38 is too cold. But it has been in the 20's relentlessly.

I am happy that I can help my little bird friends out. I just recently realized that I have two different woodpeckers coming to my feeder. There is this one in the photo and a red headed one as well. They are the sweetest birds. Always waiting patiently for their turn at the feeder. The funniest thing about them is that they cannot seem to get a grip on the iron railing. So while they are waiting for their turn at the suet, they slowly slide down, down, is quite funny really.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Rest in Peace Elizabeth Edwards

When I arrived home from work today and turned on the news, I was greeted with the news that Elizabeth Edwards had died. Immediately my eyes filled with tears.  I wasn't expecting them. After all, I did not know her personally. She wasn't family. And yet, I felt so deeply saddened and humbled by her death. Sometimes things just hit us in ways we don't expect.  

She suffered so much pain in her life. Not everyone gets hit like that. One thing after the other. First her teenage son died. Then her stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis. And finally, being left alone to deal with all this pain by a cheating spouse. How much can one person take? If it were me, I don't know that I would have ever gotten past the first tragedy. The death of a child. How does one go on from that? But she did. And with grace. She was a fighter to the end and a real role model for all women today, young and old.

We lost an important person today.

Rest in Peace Elizabeth Edwards.

Monday, December 6, 2010

BJP2011 Jan beginnings

BJP2011 Jan beginnings, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
After wracking my brain the past few weeks, I have finally decided on a size and theme for my Bead Journal Project for 2011. The size will be 3 inches by 3 inches with rounded corners. I got the idea from Dee. Her work is sublime and I hope she doesn't mind that I borrowed a few techniques from her. The first being the size and the rounded corners and the second is using more seed stitches as opposed to back stitch. I love the way she uses the seed stitch to fill in the backgrounds of her designs. You can really tuck those little delicas in in a way the rounder seed beads cannot be. Of course, Dee's way with color and blending cannot be matched, but she has inspired me so much!

For a theme I thought I would just try and use metal clay in each piece. I love making small metal clay components. Usually when I get enough different sizes and shapes, I can then begin to play with the pieces in a variety of different designs.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

So sweet!

cute sparrow, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.

The bird feeder was incredibly busy today. Whenever we put out suet, look out! We had two different woodpeckers and even a starling! This little guy was the most photogenic though. Just look at that face!
Even the big bad blue jay paid us a visit but I didn't get a shot of him. Maybe next weekend.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


birds at my feeder, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.

In winter, I could sit in my bedroom and watch the birds at my feeder all day long. As if I don't have anything else to do. Living in the city, I mainly get sparrows. Tons of them. Occasionally I get a rambunctious blue jay, the occasional chickadee and when the snow flies, if I am lucky, I get a cardinal. Oh and woodpeckers on the suet.

When I lived out in the country I had nuthatches, grosbeaks, evening grosbeaks, and wild canaries.

But now I must be satisfied with sparrows.
In fact, they are not so bad. Kind of cute.
Very curious and not at all shy.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Beech Tree

Beech Tree, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.

I took this unusual shot today on the Longwood Mall. The mall is a small park near my house, with really old beech trees. They were planted in the mid 1800's and miraculously still stand today. Thankfully, they are protected so no developers can cut them down in order to build more condos.

After I took the photo I realized it looked like an eye with stitches down the cheek.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

25 Things About Me

The other day I was "tagged" on FaceBook to list 25 things about myself. At first I thought, wow! Can I even think of 25 things about me? It seemed a daunting task frankly. But hey, I am almost 61 years old. If I can't think of 25 things about myself by now, well........
Part two of the "tagging" was to choose 25 of your FaceBook friends including the original person who tagged you, and send your list to them.
I did start a list, but then I thought some may not be that interested or may think I was spamming them or something. So I decided to post my 25 things here, on my blog. Where people can read it or not. Their choice. So here are my 25 things:

1. I will turn 61 in February.
2. I am an old hippie flower child from the 70's.
3. I lived in a tipi once.
4. I lived in Hawaii once.
5. I lived in Ibiza once.
6. I lived in Key West a lot.
7. I have two adult children in their 30's.
8. I have an 11 year old grandson.
9. I am an artist who spent over 30 years exploring gouache, oils and watercolors.
10. I have been married twice.
11. I am Jewish.
12. I camped out for an entire summer in the Rocky Mountains once living in a small tent.
13. I was arrested once for hitchhiking.
14. My second child was home birthed.
15. I once lived for 3 years with no electricity or running water or indoor plumbing.
16. I never turn the lights off now.
17. I need to be creating all the time. I am addicted to making stuff.
18. I hate clothes shopping but am addicted to book shopping.
19. I have had many lovely gardens in my life. Both vegetable and tropical fruit.
20. I miss my gardens very much. Especially my banana and papaya trees.
21. I always wonder if I could have been a better parent.
22. I am a fantastic grandparent.
23. Both of my parents are still alive and I am grateful we have had so much time together.
24. I regret the way I treated them when I was younger.
25. I am glad they still love me anyway.

Full Moon Over Brookline

full moon over Brookline, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
I want to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Before I start pulling out beads....

I thought I would post this. I started it before I became ill last week, and I have been staring at it for over a week now. I know what needs to be done but of course I am reluctant to do it after all that work. But it will only get worse so I may as well just do it. Today is as good a day as any since It will be pretty mindless, repetitive work.
The problem is the green beads. They are just too close in value to the pink luster beads on the figure. There is not enough contrast.  It may be hard to tell in the photo as I am so bad with capturing the proper light in my photos, but trust me it is not working. Especially when I set it next to my other two figures. They are full of interesting contrasts.

Time to start pulling.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Making progress (just not beading)

I miss beading. But right now getting back on my feet is my number one priority. Today I had my first solid food since Friday. So that is progress.
I haven't felt much like beading but I am thinking about beading and that counts. Mostly I have been sitting on the couch, watching...........ahem........TV. I know. I hate TV. But sometimes when you are sick and can't focus, TV is the only thing to be done. Mostly I have been watching movies on Demand, so at least there are no commercials with that. Although, and I am not going to say this too loud,  I got addicted to Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I had no idea I could be that shallow! It was a shock. Really. And then the other night I watched, do I dare say this, Sarah Palin's Alaska! I figured I had better see what we are dealing with here. Especially with all the 2012 talk. Let me say, I can't stand the woman. I can't listen to her when she is spewing her "you betcha" bullshit. But the show, well, I liked the show. It showed her in a different light. NOT a presidential light, in any way, shape or form, but there will be people who see her that way from this show. And that is not a comforting thought. Buyer beware.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bah Food poisoning

You may have noticed that I haven't posted anything in a few days. I have been nearly at death's door with a severe case of food poisoning. I never had food poisoning before. Not like this. Sure I've had the occasional upset stomach from a bad meal but this was different. This I could see, might have killed me. It got to me to thinking how quickly we can go from the perfect picture of health one day, to near death the next.
I spent all day Saturday in the ER. They were so wonderful to me there. They put warm blankets on me and loaded me up with IV fluids so I wouldn't dehydrate. At one point they even gave me some morphine for the pain and cramping.
Today (3 days later) I am finally up out of bed and beginning to feel human again. One of the nurses said that I would be weak as a kitten and she wasn't kidding. I didn't even have the strength to lift a magazine or a newspaper. I couldn't even concentrate.
This whole thing has made me realize that just because I live across the street from so many restaurants, I need to get back into cooking more. It is so easy when I get home from work too tired to cook, to just order in. Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, you name it, we have it in our neighborhood.
I have so many cookbooks but I always think that there is a restaurant nearby who can make it better than me. Maybe not.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Get me the Head!

Before you all think I have gone completely over the edge, allow me to explain. The other day, one of my beady face book friends posted a link to Teresa Sullivan. Sullivan is an extraordinary bead artist with a vision unlike anything I have ever seen.

 I fell in love with her heads on the spot.

Also on the web site was a video of her creating one of her heads. I have watched it over and over until I think I understand most of it. I got out my trusty bead book and taught myself 3 drop tubular peyote stitch.  It was much easier than I thought it would be. I also learned how to make fringe. Eventually my head will be covered in dreadlocks.

I still can’t quite get the increases right for making chin and cheeks but I had a lot of fun making this. Plus I was home sick today with a horrid cold, so what else was I going to do?

Here he is so far.....
Promise not to laugh....well actually you can laugh. It is fun not to take it all so seriously.....

Monday, November 8, 2010

Spread the word!

Registration for the 2011 Bead Journal Project is up and running. I just signed up and I am really looking forward to it. It will be an interesting challenge for me. To create a piece that is the same size for each month and somehow all are related to one another. For more information on joining (it does not cost anything) click here.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Stiff Stuff.....

I like this Lacy's stiff stuff. I can see myself making small components like this and appliqueing them to a larger piece. The one thing I don't like is all the tiny hairs that come off while working, The canvas doesn't do that. I like the smooth surface of the canvas better. But I am trying a variety of techniques, in the hopes of improving every day. Today someone posted on my Facebook page how my new bead embroidery designs remind them of my hand painted T shirts of long ago. And yes they do. I have always been inspired by Pre-Columbian artifacts and they seem to come out in my work in a variety of ways!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ms Tolima or self portrait????

Ms Tolima, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
I wasn't sure if I was going to finish this but as it turns out I am glad I did. I think she is interesting and at the very least I am getting better with my beadwork and my stitches. I like the way her central area came out. In the original it is just a circle. But to me it seemed like as many times as her heart has been broken there is always room for a new flower to take root there.

This is the original piece from a Pre-Columbian artifact:

Monday, October 25, 2010


Progressing...., originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.

He is coming along. I made some metal clay stars and sewed them on. I think it still needs a little more on the border....not sure yet. Does it seem wasteful or extravagant to use PMC on this? I like that I can make specific shapes for it utilizing the metal clay. I probably should learn how to use bronze clay or copper clay. But silver is so damn easy and clean... I like that about PMC. I suppose if I run out, I'll figure it out but for now I have 15 packets of clay to play with. So I might as well, right?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tolima man body complete

Tolima man, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.

I am getting there. I want to add some embellishments. Tomorrow I am going to make some metal clay decorations to use.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Almost Completed Tolima Man

I have learned a lot from this piece.
1. I like working on a pre-stretched painting canvas. It reminds me of my roots in painting. One of the things Robin talks about in her book is to make your base fabric meaningful to you. For me, that is canvas.

2. Always start in the middle. I made the frame first and made things much harder for myself.

3. Color the background first. I left it white. Since then I bought a variety of Sharpie markers. I will not only draw the design first, but I will color it as well. So much for free form. Not for me. Not now.

4. Keeping the lines straight in the satin stitch is not that easy with beads. With much practice, I should get there.

5. I still am not sure how I want to frame this. I probably should have used some black gesso first. At least around the outer perimeter.

6. I like bead embroidery very much. I feel I can be creative again in a way I cannot with jewelry.

I already have ideas for other pieces swimming in my head. I need to keep a journal since each piece takes so long. If I don't write it all down I will forget my ideas.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tolima Man....

This is my latest  bead embroidery project. This time I have more of an idea of what I want to do. The design is based on a Tolima style breastplate. I have always been inspired by Mexican artifacts. The original, which was made of gold, was pierced in a very interesting way, as you can see in the photo below. I will try and post more process photos as I go. I love the matte black AB beads. The colors are really lovely.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bead embroidery project

I don’t know where I am going with this yet, I just know it is something I need to explore. I recently discovered a wonderful book by Robin Atkins. It is about exploring meaning in your life through the use of embroidering with beads.

Many years ago, when I was a hippie living in a teepee in upstate New York, I began my artistic explorations with embroidery. I would sit for hours at a time and embroider denim jackets, blue jeans etc. I did it for my friends and family, mostly for free. No one charged for things in those days. We were such free spirits.

It was my first foray into being an artist. I was all of 22 years old.

After moving to Key West Florida, I became inspired by an artist friend, Eileen Seitz or Cheina, as she was known then. For many years I painted in oils, watercolors, pastel. What ever I could find. I painted tropical flowers,
banana trees, as well as still lifes of mangoes and papayas and other luscious tropical fruit. In the mid 90’s I moved to Boston and stopped painting. I had to get a day job and the both the daylight and my energy were all used up by the time I got home at the end of each day.

I still very much needed a creative outlet and so I began to learn jewelry making. I do enjoy it very much but lately I am feeling the need to go back to my roots in the art and painting world. I thought I would try this new medium of beads as paint.

This is my first foray into beads as a painting medium. I have no idea what it will look like but for now it is about getting my creativity flowing as well as my stitch work perfected. Embroidering with beads is quite different than embroidering with thread.

I will keep you posted.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Got copyright?

I am a little confused and dismayed and I hope that some folks out there can clear things up for me. It has to do with copyrights on a jewelry technique.

Over the years I have taken a variety of metals techniques courses. There was fold forming with Cynthia Eid, weaving with wire with Munya Upin, Forging with Cynthia Eid, making texture plates with Michela Verani, Anticlastic raising with Michael Good and many others as well. Never in all of my classes has anyone ever said that I could not use these techniques to create and sell my own line of jewelry.
So it came as a great shock to me when I picked up the most recent copy of Beadwork magazine with an article by Marlene Blessing dealing with copyright designs in beadwork. Kathi Khaladkar designed a necklace using shaped peyote triangles. Apparently she had to ask for and get permission from the designer of the triangles to use them in her necklace design.

My question is: why, if the necklace was her own design did she need permission to use these elements? Why are beading techniques any different than regular metalsmithing techniques? Why are they proprietary? When I pick up a beading magazine, many of the designs look like other designs I have seen. But through the skillful use of color and perhaps different beads, the designer has made it his or her own.

In fact, with the triangles the designer asked permission from Phyliss Dintenfass whereas I got my instruction for the very same triangles from Diane Fitzgerald’s book Shaped Peyote”?

Does someone really own the copyright to this peyote shape?

Right now I am in the midst of designing a necklace using a variety of these shapes. The necklace is my own design incorporating the shapes. If I wanted to sell this, then is it possible I cannot sell it when finished? What is the point then of learning techniques if I cannot utilize them and sell my designs. I would never copy someone else’s design for a piece of jewelry on purpose. So where are the boundaries on this? Why is it only in beading? Am I missing something?

Do I need to contact the book author for permission to use these shapes in my work?

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Lovlies, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.

I am still flat out with shoulder pain but I did manage to take a few photos of some work I have been doing in the past couple of weeks. I learned this pattern from the book by Diane Fitzgerald called “Shaped Peyote.” I really love that book. Of my entire collection of bead books, her pattern speak is the easiest for me to understand. Some pattern speak is nearly indecipherable.
I am hoping for a recovery from my shoulder pain soon so that I may get back to beading and biking soon. This inactivity is killing me. Yesterday I slept almost all day just to escape the pain. Today I do feel a bit better. At least I am up and about more.
As far as these earrings go, I really like them but they need gold ear wires. I cannot afford real gold at over $1200 an ounce but perhaps gold filled. I am going to check my supply house.....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sumac berries

Sumac berries, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
I have not come to grips with the fact that summer is over. My body is reacting in a horrible manner. I woke up with the most excruciating pain in my shoulder the other day. I never take Tylenol or Motrin or any of those things but I have been living on them for the past two days. I don’t know what I did. Other than the usual amount of stress which I won’t go into here. A good friend says it is manifesting in my shoulder because I am shouldering so much responsibility. She makes sense.

I miss my bike rides already. I was going to try and go this weekend but between the pain in my shoulder and the weather forecast, I don’t think that is going to happen.

Saturday is Yom Kippur. I don’t go to temple and I don’t fast. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I am a bad Jew. I think it was all those years of Hebrew School, Bat Mitzvah training, etc.....I don’t know. For some of us religion just doesn’t stick. I am one of those people. Doesn’t make me a bad person though. I still would love to visit the homeland.

At least it is Thursday. Tomorrow I can sleep in and try to rest a bit. Ethan will be over sometime in the afternoon. Last week it seems I picked him up too early and he couldn’t finish his basketball game. This week we will try to make it a little later and see how that goes. The last thing I want is for him to come to my house and be bored. Better he should stay at the school and play with his friends. I do hope we will have time at least for a piano lesson. I found some interesting early piano books on Amazon. They are similar to the ones I used growing up but a bit more modernized.

Last night my shoulder was too sore for me to do any beading. I did pore over a gorgeous book though. It is one of the Lark 500 Series books called “500 Beaded Objects”. The works are all so different. Each one more inspiring than the next. Between that book and the one called Masters of Beadwork, I have a lot of eye candy to peruse while I am healing.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Weekend Class

I had a lovely class this weekend with Michela Verani at Metalwerx. It was a very small class. There were only three of us so it was more like a private lesson. Michela is a wonderful teacher and very approachable. I like that in a teacher. Very often you don’t get that. But you could ask her anything and she shared her knowledge freely and easily.

The class was about making your own textures for Metal Clay. It was an eye opener for me in many ways. I finally got to see what was meant by “tear aways” and also PPP (Photo Polymer Plates).

I liked both of those processes but I am not sure I will use them. They are quite complicated and require the use of a specific type of laser copier that may well be going out of production at some point. That coupled with the fact that the type of Sculpey you are supposed to use (the one with phalates) will be going out of production in December, makes the process less inviting to me.

What I did like was making a texture in polymer clay and then baking it. That is fairly lo-tech and now that I know I can use my oven to bake the clay, I will try it. I was always told not to use the oven but if you use plastic baking bags and contain your piece  in that, no plastic polymers get into your air or your oven. So I will try that.

Also, I very much enjoyed the embossed paper technique. This was my favorite of all the techniques. Since I have an extensive background in painting and drawing, I can make my own art and get a nice tight design this way. I have quite a bit of left over water color paper from my years of painting that I can use for this purpose.

I hope to post some photos soon!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Yesterday was Rosh Hashonah, the Jewish New Year. I always feel guilty because I don't belong to a temple, therefore I don't go to one on the holidays or any other time. (Unless of course I am invited to a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.). I live in a town where everyone goes to Temple on the high holidays. There is at least one temple per block here, so there is no excuse not to go really. So to make up for not going, I cook. I figure if I don't go to pray to God I might do just as well cooking for him (or her). So I spent the entire day on my feet in the kitchen. I made potato kugel from scratch just the way my grandmother made it except she grated her potatoes by hand, and I use the food processor. The food processor makes really quick work of 8 Idaho potatoes! Then I made the matzoh balls for the chicken soup. Lucky for me you can buy a mix for them because otherwise I would have no idea how to make them. They were delish. I made two roast chickens as well. The rest I bought. Rugalah and challah from Kupels, and wine from Trader Joes.
I had invited our good friends, the Katz's over for dinner and we had a lovely evening even though they never miss an opportunity to let me know how they feel about Barney Frank. I adore the Katz's but they are staunch Republicans. I can never agree with them on political issues, nor they me. But we love each other anyway.
By the end of the night I didn't feel guilty at all about not having gone to shul. My feet were too sore from being on them all day in the kitchen and I was too tired to care.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Beadiful week

I have been off all week from the day job and it has been simply spectacular. The weather was perfect. I rode my bike every morning and beaded on the balcony every afternoon. (Of course only when I could get the chair away from my cat!) Sherpa always tries to beat me to it but sometimes when she gets up I can sneak in.

Anytime I thought "Oh, I should go clean' Or I should do this or that...." I said NO! You are on vacation and you must listen to the muse. THE MUSE says go forth and create something beautiful. So without further ado, here are some things I made while on my week long break from the routines of life.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Summer's End

Ethan on Peter's Hill, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
I am off this week and trying to catch up on some things, like cleaning the studio. I haven't been in the studio too much at all this summer. The weather has been too nice to be inside. Much too hot to run the kiln. As a result everything is dusty, and messy and very disorganized. Yesterday I bought some plastic bins and started organizing things so I can find everything. Sometimes it takes me so long to find something that before I can find it, I lose the inspiration for whatever it was I was going to make. Sigh.

I am also just going to try and enjoy this last week of summer. It is bittersweet for me. Camp is over. No more lunches to pack or buses to catch. At the same time, summer is ending. No more bike rides. I will miss that the most. Some hard core riders ride all winter. Not me. I am a fair weather bike rider. On Saturday I took Ethan to the Arboretum for one last ride before school and sports start. He'll be busy with friends and school and won't have too much time for grandma. That is as it should be!

He was able to make it all the way to the top of Peter's Hill and I think he was quite pleased with himself. Although he did whine all the way home. The round trip ride is over 13 miles so I am not surprised! He did a good job anyway!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Blue Spruce and Memories

The first time I saw this blue spruce at the Arboretum, it made me cry. I know that is pretty ridiculous right? The tears just came out of nowhere. I was riding my bike in the peace and tranquility that is the Arboretum. Enjoying all the huge trees and the healing sense they give me. Then suddenly I saw this one and the sweet memory of my grandmother came rushing in.

I spent a large part of my childhood at my grandmother's house in Newton. In those days, everyone seemed to have a grandparent living in Newton! My grandmother (or Nana as I called her) had a tree in her yard very much like this one. Not as large of course. This one is much older than my grandmothers tree was. But you just don’t see trees like this anymore. Sadly, many of them have been cut down to make room for yet another overly large house and the ubiquitous lawns that seem to go with them. Since this one is protected at the Arboretum, it still stands proudly.

My grandmother adored me and I her. She never stopped spoiling me. My mother, being rather strict, would never let me eat candy or stay up late to watch horror movies. But Nana would take me to the A&P (where Whole Foods is now) and buy these giant over-sized Hershey bars for us to snack on. We would crawl into her bed late at night and watch Frankenstein or the Mummy until the wee hours eating candy. Or we would go out for ice cream to Brighams and get ice cream cones with jimmies on them. (Sprinkles for those of you not from Boston).
Often she would take me to Woolworths (yes a store from a bygone era) and buy me toys. I still remember a doll called Betsy Wetsy. I know I am really showing my age on that one. Betsy Wetsy was of course just what she sounds like. She came with a bottle and two holes. One in her mouth and the other...... well, you know where.

Very often I would rummage through Nana’s drawers and play dress up. She had lovely silk scarves that I would wrap myself up in like a sari. There were gorgeous hand beaded bags which I still have tucked away. I really should display them. Of course there was the jewelry. I really think my love of jewelry began in those drawers. Most of it was costume jewelry. My grandmother was a big woman and wore big jewelry. Much larger than I would ever wear now. But in those days I was small and the bigger the jewelry, the better!

Funny how seeing one tree conjured up all these memories of my grandmother. I miss her every day.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I finally got it!

Open triangle and toggle, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.

I have been busy teaching myself beadweaving stitches in what little spare time I have. I finally succeeded in the open triangle. I kept missing the “step up” much to my dismay. I think I can recognize where it is located now. I am fine when it doesn't move but having it move all over the place is a bit of a challenge. I screwed up quite a few of these babies. But here is a successful one. I hope to use this as some kind of component in my jewelry. I like to make small components and then play with them and combine them in different ways. I am not very good at planning jewelry designs ahead. I like to wing it. Let the work surprise me.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Etsy Wider Pages Brouhaha

There is a bit of a storm brewing on Etsy ever since they redesigned the shop layout page. I really like it but not everyone is of the same mind. With the wider page and the larger photos, the look is much cleaner and the images really pop off the page. You had better have good photos now because there is no hiding from them!
Also, the banners are an issue. I had to re-design mine on the fly when I realized it was too busy for the new look. I tweaked it until it looked right to me. I ended up making the background white and just tracking the type a bit to fill the space. I also changed the locations of my little decorative icons. I think it looks much better now.

Banner Before Redesign:

Banner After Redesign:

Now about that new announcement section. That is a different story.  I am no fan of the long announcement but there are many who are. Even then, it looks odd with the new placement of it. In a way it looks like a mistake or an afterthought. A lot of people are complaining about it so perhaps Etsy will give it a tweak. Now if they would just allow us to change our usernames.....Mine makes no sense at all. RobertaWa......It really looks like an error. When I signed up for etsy all those years ago, I had no idea my username would haunt me as it has. I just want to add my last name in full.....please etsy....

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Mixed bag....

We had a mixed bag of a weekend. Friday we went out to Springfield to the Mineral and Fossil show. Friday traffic was really horrendous and I just wanted to turn around and go home. But of course on the Mass Pike there is no turning around. You are stuck there, with the windows rolled up, so as not to breathe in all the exhaust fumes for what seems like an eternity. The time spent sitting there can never be recovered.
By the time we got to the exposition center it was way past lunch time and of course the food stand was a scary mix of hot dogs and hamburgers. Foods I just will not eat unless I am stranded in the desert with nothing...and even then I would have to be at deaths door. Anyway, they had warm pretzels so I got one of those. It was so salty. Blech. I scraped off what I could and ate it.
After walking up and down the aisles, I didn’t see anything that excited me too much. After all, once you have been to Tucson anything else pales in comparison. I did meet a wonderful paleontologist with some incredible fossils. He had real dinosaur eggs! As I held one in my hand it occurred to me that I was holding in my hand something hundreds of millions of years old. Pretty impressive. I bought a trilobite fossil for my grandson.  He was quite happy to add it to his collection of rocks and other assorted interesting ephemera.
My husband bought a few things. Ever since I took him to Tucson last winter, he has discovered that he likes geodes and minerals that have been carved or shaped in some way. So he has started a small but interesting collection which I will photograph and post at some point soon.
After the show we drove up to Northampton where I paid a visit to WEBS bead store. They have a wonderful selection of delicas and tohos. I was in bead heaven in there and somehow managed to spend over $100. The only problem was that I forgot my Myuki durability list and so I bought a few beads that have color fading issues. I am going to have to spray those with Krylon before I use them. By then we were in serious need of a sit down so we headed for the local coffee shop where we had a much needed iced coffee. Afterwards it was on to the Raven bookstore. “The Raven” is a fantastic used book store in Northampton. If you are ever in the area do make it a point to stop in. They have so many books! I always find something. I found a wonderful book on Indian textiles and a book on magic tricks for my magician grandson.
After a lovely vegetarian dinner at Paul and Elizabth's  we headed home.  I kind of wish we would have planned to stay overnight in Northampton. It would have made the trip more relaxing. Oh well. Next time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Beads, Beads and more Beads.....

RAW first piece, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
One thing that has really astounded me since I began adding beadwork to my repertoire is the number of wonderful bead designers that are out there! I really had no idea there was so much innovative work being done. Not to mention the unbelievable number of stitches there are to learn. I love how all the stitches look so very different and at how they effect the final design of the piece.

I recently discovered this beader, Nancy Cain. Here work is so perfect and beautiful. It is wonderful to have so many inspiring pieces to look at. One other thing I have found is that within the beading community are some of the most helpful people I have ever met. If I ever have any questions, there are usually many people I can turn to who will have the answer.

I have compiled a list of some of my favorite bead links here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday Morning Musings

I have decided to take the last week of the summer off from work as a sort of mental health week. I really need some down time after a very busy summer of making his lunches and taking Ethan to the bus for camp every day. Both he and my daughter will be going away for that week and I will have the entire week to myself. I really need to get in my studio and clean. It is a mess in there. More so than usual. When I can’t even stand to be in there, you know it must be bad.
Also, I want to ride my bike as much as possible since once September comes I don’t ride as much. Too cold, too windy, too something. I am what you call a fair weather cyclist. I can’t stand riding in anything but the most perfect warm conditions. What can I say. I will never make the Tour de France.
I want to do some beading of course. That seems to be a given these days. I have to say that I feel a little guilty. Over the past few years I have spent thousands of dollars on jewelry making tools. Every time I take a class and learn a new technique, I buy the tools. I have an entire set of anticlastic tools I bought from Micheal Good. Of course these are extra special because he hand-makes all his tools for class. Then there are all the third arms, the various fluxes, the hammers, oh the infinite hammers, the pliers, the very expensive steel dapping tools, the wooden dapping tools, the round mandrels, the oval mandrels, the flush cutters of every conceivable brand. Then there are all the gems, the pearls, the wire, sterling, fine silver, the enamels. I did trade in all my unused sheet recently in exchange for metal clay from Rio. That alone was almost $600 worth of sheet.
Some of the things I have learned about making jewelry are that you may not like all the techniques. Some take more patience than others. For example I learned early on that I hate soldering. I loved the anticlastic raising but it gave me horrible pains in my wrists. Reluctantly, I had to stop.
Same with the enameling. I loved it, but all the sanding and stoning was causing my wrists a lot of pain.
So I guess I will just be happy that the metal clay and the beading don’t seem to bother me and keep doing those things and try not to feel too guilty about all the expensive tools that just sit there. Good thing I never did buy that rolling mill.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

RAW first piece

RAW first piece, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
This is my first piece of right angle weave. I took multiple tubes of a variety of metallic beads and just dumped them into a bowl. I was afraid if I did it all in one color I would get bored.
I am hoping to add some metal clay embellishments to this when I am done.
I like the right angle weave a lot and hope to improve my skills with this stitch very soon. It seems like a stitch which can be personalized more than some of the other stitches.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Trespassers by Gabriel Edward Adams

I love this piece from this year's Sculpture exhibit at Chesterwood. It speaks volumes about our society today.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Gate Exhibition at Rockwell Museum

One of my favorite places to go in the Berkshires is the Norman Rockwell museum. Not the actual museum, but the grounds. They usually always have some interesting sculpture. This photo was taken a couple of years ago. The exhibit was called “Garden Gates”. It was just lovely and this one is one of my favorite pieces from the show. Both this year and last year they did not have an outdoor exhibit and so I was a bit disappointed. I do hope that they don't stop having them because the grounds truly are lovely and it would be a shame to stop.

On another note, I made our reservations for Tucson this winter. We are staying at the "Westward Look" again. We really loved that place since it is one of the only resorts that does not have a golf course. We don't golf and I actually do not like golf courses. I am visually offended by them. All that land, wasted on grass,fertilizer, and water. So at least I have something wonderful to look forward to this winter in the midst of all the horrible cold.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Delica Beads and Durability

One of the things I have learned thanks to the wonderful and oh-so-helpful beader, Lidia Cimins, is that some of the Delica beads have finishes on them that do not hold up under certain conditions. This concerns me since I want my jewelry and anything I make out of them to have durability. I have heard that some people spray their beads with Krylon first and that this protects the finish. However, I am not sure that I want to be using that stuff. It is pretty smelly and toxic and I try to keep a green studio as much as I can.
So over the past few days I have been compiling a chart to help me see at a glance which colors are durable and which are not. Lidia directed me to a chart online called miyukidurability. Being a very visual person however, this only partly helped me. So I went to  Fox Den beads and took screen shots of the colors. I matched them up with their durability list and created a pdf that I hope will help me when I am placing orders online for beads.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

More triangles

More triangles, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
I cannot stop making these triangles. Weaving them is the most relaxing, fun thing I have found in a long time. Most jewelry making steps stress me out. Especially things like soldering or enameling. Metal Clay is the most stressful of all. Will the clay dry out too soon? Will I be able to sell things I make with it, thus insuring I can buy more metal clay. Don't get me wrong. I love metal clay. I won't stop working in it. But I really like the very zen activity of bead weaving and I am going to just relax and see where it takes me.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Random Musings.....

beacon street, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
Well, the piano is in. It looks really great in the spot we placed it. It just needs to be tuned and then it should be all set. I am looking forward to reconnecting with my piano roots.
I didn’t do much jewelry this weekend. I find it hard to stay indoors when the weather is so perfect. I have been enjoying biking in the Arboretum every weekend. It is about a 13 mile round trip from my place in Brookline. A good length ride for me. I used to be able to ride much further but 15 miles is about my limit these days. Hey whatever, I’ll take it!
Whenever I go to the Arboretuem and sit at the top of Bussey Hill, I am mindful of the fact that a place like that could never exist today. No city would ever allow that much land (265 acres) to be allotted to green space. We are very lucky that our fore bears set aside the land they did when they did because now developers run the show. Their idea of green space now is a bench on a patch of grass in front of a condo building. It sickens me. It really does. What are we leaving for out children and grandchildren?

I am a member of an organization called Trustees of Reservations They do their best at trying to preserve large tracts of land but as land gets more and more valuable it gets harder for them to get people to donate their land.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pianos and Beads

Copper peyote triangles, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
I spent the day today cleaning my condo in order to get ready for the delivery tomorrow of my parents piano. Before I left for vacation my place was so filthy and dusty, but I was to exhausted and so had no energy to clean.  I took on the project today. A good old fashioned Feng Shui attack!

I threw out so much stuff. It felt really good. It is amazing to me how much stuff we can amass over time. Even someone like me in a very small (900 square feet) apartment.

Lately I have been trying to help my parents clean out their house, hence the piano coming to live with me. They need to down size and get out of the house. I was shocked at all the things they have kept over the years.Old playbills from the 50’s and 60’s, my mother’s old Navy uniform from WWII, her baby bonnet from infancy, my valentines from kindergarten, my brother’s old G.I Joe. Lots of old textbooks from the 1930’s.... So much stuff. Most of it junk.

So I am, making a conscious effort NOT to save too much crap!

Tonight it is back to learning right angle weave. I don’t know why I am having so much trouble with it. It looks like an interesting stitch but it can be very confusing. I have a DVD I am going to watch later to see if that helps me. It came with a Beadweaving magazine and it is called DoodleBeads with Leslie Rogalski. I hope it helps. I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Chesterwood and other Musings

t has been 3 days since I returned from vacation and I am trying hard to adjust. The hardest thing for me is being inside all day after being outdoors for two whole weeks. Between swimming in the pool and bike riding, it was a perfect existence. Although I did get some disappointing news last night about the house. The folks who rent it out to us are going to stop renting it out for the month of August. This doesn’t affect us yet but it is clear that eventually they will not be renting it out as much since their family needs are changing and they will need the house all summer at some point.
So we have it again for next year but after that, who knows. I guess we will have to search for a new house to rent.
We have thought about buying property out there but it is pretty expensive. I suppose if we were considering retiring there it would be a good idea but just for the summer? It just isn’t feasible. I could never see myself living out there all winter long. Too cold. Too lonely. I love the country in summer. There is nothing quite like it. But in winter it is another matter entirely. I have lived in the country in winter and was never so depressed in all my life. Winter is bad enough but at least in the city you can go outside and see people. It doesn’t seem quite so lonely.
Well, I am not going to think about any of that now. I will just savor the good vacaton feelings for now.
By the way, the photo above was taken at Chesterwood. They have a great show there this summer if you are in the area.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What I did on Summer Vacation

I have just returned from the most wonderful, restful vacation ever. The weather was perfectly hot. Nothing to do but sit by the pool under the umbrella sipping iced tea and lemonade. I taught myself peyote stitch and found myself enthralled with making triangles. I love the shape and the variety of colors and designs!
I know, I know, yet another new style and medium but what can I say? I love trying new things and this was something portable I could bring with me on vacation.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tyringham Cobble

cobble4, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
And so I am off to the Berkshires for some much needed away time. Time to rest and reflect. Figure out what I am doing wrong and what I am doing right. Sometimes you really have to get away from your life in order to really see what you are all about. We go to the same house every year. There is no internet access and no cell service. It is just me and him. Even the cat is not with us. No kids, no parents. Just us. It is our time and we need it.
On Sunday night we are going to see James Taylor and Carol King at Tanglewood and on Wednesday we will see "Richard" at Shakespeare and Company. I love that play. I would love to go see Al Pacino in it this summer in Shakespeare in the Park. Maybe. We'll see.
Whenever I go away I do miss my jewelry tools. So this year I decided to teach myself some bead weaving stitches as I sit by the pool. I am bringing some delicas and a pattern by Kate McKinnon for her Groovy Cuff.
See you all when I return! Have a happy and fun 4th of July!