36 Hour Road Trip

36 hours + 805 miles = San Francisco road trip. I overheard a conversation at a local bead store about a Cartier exhibit at a museum in San Francisco. It took a little research to find - I'd never heard of the museum before - but Dick and I decided to take a quick trip north before the exhibit ended.

We left bright and early Monday morning with the goal of getting to Berkeley in time to visit Lacis - the mecca of lace and lace-making - before it closed at 6 pm. Made it in plenty of time; poor Dick got to hang out while I spent almost 2 hours touring the lace museum exhibits and shopping the incredible retail store.
Today was spent at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, which overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge at the top of the San Francisco peninsula. The museum opened to the public on Armistice Day 1924 (more information here). The exterior - and grounds are gorgeous, although Dick and I weren't all that crazy about the modern art piece in the main parking area. But we were very impressed with the Rodin 'Thinker' sculpture in the courtyard and the museum itself, which primarily features European decorative arts and paintings.

The star of the day was the 'Cartier in America' exhibit.

Quartz crystal bracelets with diamonds set in platinum.

I expected a couple of rooms with a few nice pieces; that we'd spend about an hour looking at everything and then be on our way. Wrong. Three hours later we finally took a break for lunch and could easily have spent another hour or two revisiting the exhibit.

Amethyst, turquoise and diamond necklace

It was truly spectacular with room after room, case after case, of gem encrusted jewelry
created for the ultra-wealthy in Europe and America from about 1909 to the 1970's. Think Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Grace (whose 10+ carat diamond engagement ring is on display for the first time), Marjorie Merriweather Post, Wallis Duchess of Windsor, all of whom had pieces featured in the show. (More pictures and descriptions of the pieces can be found here.)We spent so much time in the Cartier exhibit that we didn't have time to really see the rest of the museum; just took a quick run through the main rooms before we hit the road in an effort to avoid rush hour traffic in Frisco. We'll definitely be going back to the Legion - and searching out other museums we've missed both in San Francisco and L.A.

A functional 'mystery clock' with hands that appear to float


Bobbin Lace

I love taking classes, especially in new-to-me crafts. In the past month, I've taken cold riveting, resin jewelry, chain maille, Estonian lace knitting, Kumihimo and now bobbin lace. Wish I had time to really learn them all.

One of the women in my Guild does exquisite bobbin lace and I've always been fascinated by all the threads and tiny bobbins hanging from her working pillow. It looked so hard and complicated. When Saturday's workshop was announced, I was one of the first to sign up. And it turns out, bobbin lace is fairly easy to do (at the beginner's level, anyway) once you know the 'secrets', the little tricks and tips of the trade. I'm pretty pleased with my little leaf and hope to do more when we get back from our jaunt to Lacis and the Lace Museum in Berkeley.



The walls are painted, the hardwood floor is installed and the baseboards are on. All that's left to do is move the furniture back into place, hang the curtains - once they arrive; back orders are a pain - and toss on the new bed linens. We're very close to done.


Easter Babies

Ran over to the Oaks Mall and had the CA baby grands' picture taken with the Easter bunny. Literally ran; they were closing an hour from the time we thought about going and this was the only day we could do it. Leia thought the bunny was wonderful - right up until someone plopped her on his lap. She wasn't happy, even with Naia holding her. This is the only picture in 8 (9, 10??) shots that was usable. But aren't they cute? Happy Easter!



1 - the new table is in place, right behind the couch in the teevee room, where I can craft while Dick watches his shows. This is turning into my recycled corner - in addition to the table and chairs coming from a resale store, the covering is fabric an artist friend was going to throw out during her recent studio move. The size is perfect and I love the pattern; just need to hem the edges and it's done.
2 - I've got another case of startitis. Even with all the projects I have in various stages of undone-ness, I just had to start a new sweater (details here). That I'm hoping to have done by Saturday so I can wear it to guild. I do love me some crocheted cables. (The color is actually light brown, not the dull gray my monitor shows.)
3 - Finally blocked the handspun knitted shawl (details here) and I.Love.It. I love the drape and how heavy this shawl is; love the color and the little sparkles; love that I actually finished a knitted project. Love how much blocking improves an FO. That still amazes me every time.


New-to-Me Treasure

Dick and I went shopping at a consignment resale store yesterday, looking for a workbench/table for my new jewelry-making hobby. Came home with this instead - a table and chairs for the baby grands. The price was too good to pass up and I love that the sides fold down to save space when not in use. It'll be a great place for art projects, dinner at grandma's and more. And I think I can make it work for my hobbies too.


Moving Ahead

Lots of progress going on around here. I started Addy's new blankie - I'm calling it the 'Mermaid Princess' blanket. The turquoise added to the pink/purple makes me think of Disney's Ariel.

Our bedroom remodel is almost done. The second color is on the walls (2 walls are 'Sly Fox' red and 2 are a neutral tan) and the hardwood flooring is going down.
Nice big baseboards

Tomorrow the new bed arrives. Can. Not. Wait.
Some furniture's back in place. Madam Supervisor, taking her life in her hands paws.


Decisions, Decisions

Starting a blankie for Addy and having trouble deciding which color combo to use. Oh, Rachel . . . . opinions??


Division of Labor

While Dick did this - I did this -
Byzantine bracelet in a class from my new favorite crafting store, Cottontail Creations.

I definitely got the better end of the deal. Just to make sure he knew how much I appreciated all his work, I brought home a *big* box of pastries from our favorite bakery.

Also finished my first knit shawl last night. Still need to block it, but I had a willing model today (thanks, Bre!) so I took some photos. This is handspun-by-me yarn; love the color and the little threads of sparkly that are all through it. I see this shawl getting lots of use.


Socks and Metal

This is my standard sock pattern (bits of this and that from a variety of patterns I've tried) made with Austermann Step yarn. Not that crazy about the wide stripes but they're warm and comfy. Love the handmade socks.

I took two jewelry classes this weekend. Friday was resin and wire for beginners with Tracy Stanley, the author of several books on resin and metal-work.
I definitely qualify for the 'beginner' part; this is the first metal work I've ever done. I ended up with 8 pieces total and Marie has already laid claim to one. Don't have a strong desire to work with resin again, it just isn't my thing, but the class was fun.

On Sunday, Dick and I took a metal bracelet class with the same teacher. He got sick and went home at lunchtime, but I finished my project by the end of class. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. It's definitely a beginner's piece but I plan to wear and enjoy it. Thursday I'm taking a jump-ring - aka chain maille (examples here) - jewelry class and I'm really excited about it. Think I'm turning into a metal-head.


Metal Working 101

Took a resin and metal jewelry class today, from the same instructor who is teaching the cold riveting class on Sunday.

click pictures to enlarge

I've never done metal-working of any kind before but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night watch a couple of YouTube videos so I wouldn't be a total idiot novice. The wire-wrapping didn't thrill me - my pieces look very um, "organic" - but I did like working with sheet metal and fashioning bezels. I'm not sure I'd do more resin work but I'm glad I took the class. Better pictures as soon as my pieces dry (24-hours or so) and I have something other than a cell-phone camera available.


Because I Don't Do Enough Crafts Already

Dick and I are taking a cold riveting jewelry class on Sunday so today was shopping-for-supplies day. You gotta love a class that requires four types of hammers, three kinds of pliers, metal shears and a saw.

Chasing hammer, riveting hammer, nail hammer and plastic mallet.

We didn't need to buy as much as I'd expected - Dick has done jewelry and stained glass work before and some of those tools are cross-craftal - but still managed to spend a fair sum

And that's on top of the spending we did on Monday - bought new curtains for the bedroom and finally found the new bed we wanted at a reasonable price.
Before it's delivered on 3/16, we need to decide on, purchase and install new flooring, paint the walls, hang the curtains and more. Dick's going to be very busy these next 2 weeks. Sunday's jewelry class may be his last bit of relaxation for awhile.


Gold Medal

I signed on for both the Knitting Olympics and Ravelympics this year. I work better to a deadline - always have - so knowing I had 17 days to complete my project(s) was perfect.

I didn't achieve all my goals, just like in the real Olympics; the crocheted sweater I thought would be a cinch is languishing with one back panel completed. In fact, I didn't medal with any crochet projects. My Olympic glory centers around knit and Tunisian FO's.

For the Knitting Olympics
and Ravelry's Lace Luge - I finished the Estonian shawl sampler from Nancy Bush's class. First knitted lace, first knitting chart, first Kirchener stitch, all in one little project.For the Scarf Super G and Stash Dance - I double-medaled with the Tunisian shell sampler scarf using yarn I've had in the stash for well over a year.My favorite event was Designer Pattern Skeletonand the Tunisian Treasure Shawl, with the free pattern available here.WIPs Dancing turned out to be my strongest event, with completion of the Cat Bordhi moebius
and the One Row scarf that I started knitting from my handspun yarn in 2007. Especially gratifying to have this one finished.Now that the Games have concluded, it's back to baby blankets (2 in the works) and the remaining 8 shawls for my 10 Shawls in 2010 challenge. Onward!