Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a peaceful and joyous holiday surrounded with love and laughter.  To all my friends in Boise and  around the world, may the New Year  bring much joy, good health and creative spirit to all of you.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I've had a chance to think about Thanksgiving this year, what it is to be thankful, and what I am thankful for.  Yes, I am thankful for family and health and that my family and friends are healthy and that they have jobs and homes and wonderful families of their own.  But I am so very, very thankful for those tiny, sparkly things called beads that came into my life when I was three years old. 

Right now I'm in transition, searching and negotiating for a new location for the store.  I have boxes of stuff everywhere in my house and some might look at this and wonder how can anyone be grateful for such chaos that is going on.   But, it really is about what beads have brought into my life.

Because of beads, I am more joyful.  When Bead Street was located in downtown Boise, many of my customers were local - many from the north end and  because of the location, many tourists visited as well.   I met Barb - who has become my best friend and traveling companion - who lives in Portland.  I can't tell you how much joy and fun and creative energy she has brought into my life.  And because of Barb, my traveling experiences are a little less structured and less organized.  Yes, I do that everywhere.

Because of beads,  a life was actually changed - for the so much better.  A trip was planned and the day before, my employee quit.  A friend volunteered her daughter to help me out.  This gal decided she liked working for me and continued on.   One day one of my customers actually spent some time talking to her, and then helped her get her GED and then into college. This was the start of her transition and remarkably her life has changed dramatically.  Believe me.   You pundits might say that would have happened anyway.  Maybe, maybe not.

Because of beads, I am more creative.   When we moved to Cole and Ustick, we were discovered by many new customers that I have grown to love.  These people have been so inspirational, so knowledgeable and so talented.  My creativity has flourished because of them.   I am so thankful they are a part of my life.

Because of beads, my family is larger.  I met a vendor that has now become a big part of my family - they have now moved to Boise so I get to see them on a regular basis.  How I met them is a long list of 'coincidences' that happened in a particular order.  If any of those 'coincidences' had not happened at the right time - or even in the right sequence - I might not have met these people.   I am so, so very thankful they are a part of my life.

Because of beads, I have learned so much about the rest of the world.  I learned to blog.  And because I am blogging, I have followers and those followers have left me some wonderful comments.  I have  learned something about someone half way around the world - and about their country.  My passion for travel has been re-ignited and I have become more adventurous.

Because of beads - I am.  I am so thankful to live in this time where we can reach around the world and get to know someone.  Because of the Internet and Gloria Google, the language barrier is breached.  Just copy and paste into Google translate and viola' - I now know something about them. We can actually speak to each other and  because we bead, we can share our beading projects with anyone in the world.  Amazing!

Because of beads, many of you have discovered your own creative spirit and want to share your ideas.  For those of you who have some extra time this Thanksgiving, here is a free pattern for this beautiful bracelet.  Thanks so much Eva! 

Edna Bracelet Pattern

I used Blue Iris Super Duos, Matt Blue Iris 4mm Firepolish,
4mm Bronze Czech Glass, copper lined size 15/0 seedbeads,
 Metallic Blue Denim 8/0 seedbeads and  
Sapphire Swarovski crystals
Another Vintage button from the Paris Flea Market

Because of beads,  my life is better.   I am smarter, more knowledgeable, more grateful, more creative and  life is so much more fun.  I am so thankful my grandmother introduced them to me.  And I am so thankful they grabbed me by the heart strings and didn't let go.  I hope all of you have a wonderful day.  Happy Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Beaded Bracelets

Have more to tell you about the Paris Flea Markets but I also still have tons and tons of photos to go through.  So thought I would tell you about a couple of bracelets I have been working on.  First is a bracelet influenced  by a design by Ella Des of Ellad2

I used matt metallic green iris 4mm firepolish
and metallic sage green size 11 seedbeads.

 Of course I used one of my vintage buttons found in Paris

I varied the design by leaving out the second row
of seed beads around the outside edge.

You can find her beautiful designs on her blog
or purchase this pattern at her store located Here

Another pattern I have been playing with for a while now is my Czech SuperDuo bangle.  Trying different combos, adding other beads, I have even incorporated some of my beaded beads into the pattern.

Now I have to tell you about an influence in my life. 
Years ago, this would not be a combo of colors I would use. 
 Little too bright for me.  After seeing many of Janet's finished projects in a number of classes held at Bead Street, 
I am now stepping out of my box. 
Am pretty pleased with this one. 
 Thanks so much Janet!

  Janet now has a new blog of her own
so all of you can see her projects up close. 
Congratulations, Janet, on your wonderful blog.
You can check it out HERE

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Paris Flea Market

Bead Street News

Been really busy as usual.  Still negotiating on the new space and still unpacking and organizing beads in a temporary location.  The Czech glass wall is done, CzechMate Tiles, Tilas, Twins, Super Duos, 3.4mm drops, 8/0 and 11/0 Triangles, and glass pearls have all been unboxed and hung.  Almost all of the seed beads (anything in tubes) as well as the 1.5mm, 1.8mm, 3mm and 4mm cubes and bugles have been organized.  A lot done but still have lots to do. 

Also have finished some projects to be submitted to the TrendSetters that will be published for Tucson.  I have used some of the new bead shapes so I can't show you those until they are officially announced in January.  But here is one bracelet using Super Duos that I can show you.

Paris Flea Market

The history of the flea market dates back over two centuries, when  men scoured through the garbage of aristocratic Parisians at night to find their cast-offs to sell.  Many set up their temporary stalls within the Paris walls.  These neighborhoods became full of pickpockets and thieves and they were eventually chased out of the city walls to Clignancourt, Montreuil, and Vanves which were the gateways to the city.

The markets are called Les Puces (translation the fleas) because presumably the clothing and other items found in the garbage were in fact infested with these bugs.  Fortunately,  just the name remains and the largest of these markets is the one at Port de Clignancourt. 

Since I was looking for buttons, keys, lace, trims, postcards, photos - basically anything I could use to make jewelry, we first headed to the smaller market at Vanves which is the southern port (gateway) and not far from our apartment.

Vendors at this market set up tables along the streets. 
 We found linens, books, old photos, postcards,
 lots of buttons, jewelry, toys, posters,
sterling silverware and tableware, pottery, 
 African artifacts (some hundreds of years old),
 and some antique furniture and vintage clothing.
We also found a booth of glass doll eyes.

The lady in purple is the booth vendor holding my purchases.
I wanted to know what this tiny 'brayer' was used for and she didn't know enough English to explain to me.
 This wonderful man, who spoke both French and
English,  gave us both a lesson in history.

Found some lockets including a lovely French
 photo souvenir locket at this table.
Also bought some tiny brass keyhole plates.

A French flea market version of Starbucks.
There are a couple of thermoses on the back,
as well as a carton of juice.
Pastries, cookies, muffins and cups inside the cart
and a trash bag hanging off the front.
In my book, everything you need while you shop.

A sampling of some of the things we found here.

The Port de Vanves flea market is located
on Line 13 in the 14th arrondissement
which includes most of the Montparnasse area
(remember that tall tower in a lot of our photos).
Things here seemed fairly priced and the vendors were open to bargaining. Take either a pen and paper (so vendors can write down their price) or a calculator.  If you are into bric-a-brac, jewelry and other smaller items, this market is the place to start.  You do have to walk thru a vegetable market that includes vendors with new clothes, jewelry and kitchen items.  Keep walking, you will find the flea market a few more blocks south.

A really wonderful day today.  Weather was good, subway was easy and I was not only visually stimulated, but found some wonderful items as well.   Next is the big flea market at Port de Clignancourt which is north of Paris.  More on that on the next post. 

For more info:

Porte de Vanves Open Saturday & Sunday  until around 1:00 - avenue Marc Sangnier & avenue George Lafenestre
Metro: Porte de Vanves (line 13)
06 88 64 82 77

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Luxembourg Gardens, Paris

Well it's the weekend and time for the Paris Flea Markets.  I have a separate post on two that we attended - with lots of photos.  For now, here is a bracelet inspired by the Eiffel Tower and details of Barb and Jimmila's great adventure. 

At first glance you would think the Eiffel Tower is a steel grey. 
 However, I saw bronze, copper tones and dark browns in
 the beams.  Those matched perfectly with the Matt Apollo Jet
 Super Duos and Bronze 1.5 MM cubes I had with me.
Completed, this became a very structured cuff.

Angular form of the Czech Super Duos juxtaposed
against the horizontal and vertical 'bars'
of the 1.5MM Cubes.
Love the look - have to do another.

I didn't take clasps with me -
but if I could find a button that would work,
then the bracelet got finished. Here I think I found a perfect antique button from one of the flea markets.
The Luxembourg Gardens are just a couple of
 blocks west of our apartment. 
My mind was on the Flea Markets but Jimmila and Barb
decided to visit the gardens.

A pond at the gardens with the Montparnasse Tower
 in the background.
We saw these ponds a lot around Paris. 
 With chairs surrounding them, and people napping or reading a book and kids floating these fabulous, colorful boats in the water,  the French really know how to enjoy their day.

From the gardens, they walked down St. Michel towards
the Seine.  By the Notre Dame they caught a river
cruise west towards the Eiffel Tower

The river cruise allows passengers to get on at the Notre Dame, get off at various points along the river and then get back on again.  So Jimmila and Barb rode it past the Eiffel Tower and got off close to the Champ d' Elysees.

Remember I said each neighborhood had its own feel and flavor?  Well this one is obviously traffic and people - both locals and tourists.  The shops along here are very high end
and of course terminates at the Arc de Triompe 

Since they were getting a little tired - they took a Rickshaw ride back and of course, did some window shopping. 
This is the Grand Palais where the Cacharel fashion show
 is today. One of the few showing prints.
If you'd like to see this 2 minute recap, click Here

View from the river. 
 I think they caught the boat here to go back to Notre Dame.

After the cruise back to the Notre Dame,
 they tried to make their way back to the apartment. 

Remember I said my job was to navigate - to get everyone where they need to be and then safely back home?  Well, I wasn't along and they got lost.  On the street, trying to read a map in the dark, not knowing what street the apartment was on, they tried to ask people if they spoke English.  Barb did find someone who spoke Spanish - so they communicated some that way - go figure - in Paris! 

Now standing in front of a bookstore, still trying to figure out where they were, they heard this voice that Barb said sounded a lot like Maurice Chevalier.  He asked - Can I help you?  They told him they were lost and trying to make their way to the Moofart street market.  (The name is Mouffetard but I had pronounced it Moofart on the first day, and unfortunately it stuck.) 

He said, "If I help you, will you give me a little kiss?"  Barb replied, "If you help me, I will give you a BIG kiss".   Needless to say, they made their way home safe and sound.  And they won't tell me anymore about this Frenchman, who they now refer to as 'their  bookseller'.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Still Day 3 in Paris

During the reign of Henry IV, the Marais became the hometown of the French aristocracy.  In the 17th century, big shots built their private mansions close to Henry's ritzy Place des Vosges.   The mansions that survived the Revolution now house museums, libraries, and national institutions.

The Marais is in both the 3rd and 4th Arrondissement and is the location for Place de la Bastille and the flashy, curved, glassy facade of Opera Bastille - which we are going to on another day.  For now we are continuing our window shopping.

A dainty macrame and rhinestone bracelet.
We haven't found soutache cord yet,
 but I did get rhinestone chain.

Old Roman Glass necklace

Each of these pieces were hand cut

Lots of metals - silver and gold - in the shops.

We are walking west (at least I think it is west) on the rue des Francs-Bourgeois which leads to the Centre George Pompidou which is a massive complex housing the Musee National d'Art Moderne and a number of rotating exhibitions.

We spotted this wall mural as we rounded
 the corner before the Center

Another totally different neighborhood feel - 
with the fountain, kids playing in the water,
music, and the modern art atmosphere.

We saw lively street dancers,
other entertainment and chalk paintings.

As we head south back to the apartment,
we pass this 170 ft bell tower.
This was part of the St Jacques de la Boucherie Church
 which was built during the Renaissance,
and destroyed during the French Revolution.
 The bell tower is all that remains and is the
 centerpiece of  Paris' first public square.

Across the river to Saint Michel

Close up of the fountain

After passing this building, we decided to get off the main boulevards and walk thru the side streets and
passageways (pedestrian only streets)
which was a lot quieter and less touristy.  
Back thru the Sorbonne area and the Pantheon to home.
Not a bad day considering how it all started.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

the Marais

Bead Street News:  All the painting has been done - at least I think it is done.  You know how it is - you paint one wall and an adjoining wall looks a little dirty, so you have to paint that one, and then ......  Have hung up row 8 on the Czech glass wall (4 more to go).  Irene did a fabulous job of organizing the gals when this stuff came down.  So pretty easy to get back up, just time consuming.  Running short of space on the Teals and Greens (go figure) so may have to reshuffle some - but making progress.

Now  to Paris - the Marias - Day 3:

The Marais means 'the marsh' in French but it is now one of the most elegant and aristocratic districts in Paris. Because it is Friday, and the Marais is a Jewish community, their Sabbath is Saturday and most stores and restaurants close early on Friday.  Some stores close at noon - some stores were not even open today.  So if you go, and I recommend you do, go earlier in the week.

Our visit was a very colorful and eventful one. We saw Renaissance-era architecture, galleries, Michelin-starred restaurants next to Kosher bakeries, and expensive boutiques next to thrift shops.  The Marais is bohemian, artistic and cosmopolitan.

When I say colorful - here's a sample of what we saw.

This is inspiration to me.
Instead of doing an entire bracelet,
I am working on just one ring - similar to this one -
and then maybe use some Chinese Knotting cord
and do a macrame something.

Pretty nice huh! 
 Maybe a little too bright to wear in Boise. 
We'll have to see,

First event - Sign says Free Hug. 
 Barb always seems to find the 'Huggers'
(remember the Czech Republic trip). 
This gal appeared to be a little safer however,
 so instead of running, I actually got one too

This is me sitting in the gutter. 
My job on trips is to navigate - to get us wherever
we need to be, then safely back home. 
 Barb' s job is to entertain and provide medical care. 
 Boy did we need her medical advice on this trip. 
As it turned out, three of us fell at some point -
 I was just the first.  Sprained my ankle, hurt my hip and knee 
and ripped my pants (notice the knee). 
 Fortunately, Parisians are all very helpful and
 thankfully - no one broke any bones.

The Marias is full of antique stores, boutiques, and vintage shops. 
 Of course, we had to go into this one. 
Not a lot of what I would call bargains. 
 The vintage items were from Chanel, Louis Vuitton,
Dior,  Yves Saint Laurent -  we are in Paris afterall.
Colorful and bling with a capital B.
More on our visit on the next post.