Do you ever wonder why lizards do push-ups?

lizards

This is just one of the juicy local wildlife questions that keeps me awake at night -tossing and turning, kicking the covers off, – and making it impossible to rest.  I need to get to the bottom of this mystery.  

So thanks to the Discovery Channel I discovered it’s the male lizards that engage in this push up activity (of course it is); and all he wants is attention.

Every morning I open the garage door – this is where I do my morning weight routine arm exercises.  And there he is sitting on a rock on all fours pushing and bobbing  – up and down and up and down.

I imagine all the lady lizards are out there swooning.  Yeah, we see ya big boy!

So aren’t you glad you came over to read my blog today.  Now you too can rest well tonight.

 

Lampworked beads for my artist jewelry

So you all know that I have a real passion for creating glass art in the flame of my torch.  (20 years and still torching)

To show off these exquisite glass beads and cabochons I soon branched out to jewelry design.  Simple pieces.  The glass was the star. 

Well as all things in life change; my artistic jewelry designs have really evolved too.  I still create jewelry designs that show off glass, but I also create jewelry designs that show off my expression of the deserts of the Southwest.  Which means sometimes it’s just the metal that speaks to me and sometimes gemstones and sometimes glass and sometimes all three.

I started adding metals to my glass in the torch to give the glass an earthy feel and to create colors that were totally mine.  The colors become more muted, and I can actually make the glass look like the stones and rocks found in the desert.  

Adding pure silver to the glass (in the form of silver leaf and foil) is a favorite thing I like to do.  I take a glass rod of ivory.  Wrap silver leaf around it.  Burn the leaf off.  And then pull a stringer.  Then I use this stringer to decorate the beads in the flame.

Here is a favorite design using that “silvered ivory stringer”.

artist jewelry

I love 

creating the desert in glass and metal

 

I have been working on how to banish her

banish

 

 

Ode to Summer in Tucson

Summer is Coming in Tucson

It’s May 1st

Hurry up

Pack those bags

The temp is gonna reach 100 soon

summer

For many of my friends

Who sought the wintery sunshine of Tucson

Back home is starting to look good again

summer

 

So they are saying goodbye to the hot hot sunshine to come

They bid me adios

They say to me “see ya in October”

Pretty soon the low will be 75

And I need to be outta here

summer

 

Hurry up snowbird

It’s time to fly from Tucson

summer

But I live here for all 12 months

I love the heat

After all – it’s a dry heat

summer

creating the desert in glass and metal

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Tucson Gem and Jewelry Shows

It’s the Most wonderful time of the year

No – not Christmas; even though that’s pretty good too.  

The Tucson Gem and Jewelry shows start next week 

As one person put it – just throw a rock in the air and somebody will want to buy it.

These shows have been ongoing since 1955

It’s not one show but around 50 shows

Each show with hundreds of vendors

And each show has it’s own flavor so depending on what you want to see and buy you pick the flavor show you want

I used to show my beads at the gem shows but haven’t done so in quite a few years.

Now I spend the time taking classes and shopping.

This year I am taking a class from the talented April Bower

I am going to learn how to reticulate silver

and will be making this ring

Gem and Jewelry Shows

Very much my style…

As far as shopping goes I probably don’t need much but I love to walk around and get inspired

Plus I always pick up a cabochon or 2 …  well, probably more than that

Plus it’s so much fun seeing my jewelry friends

Leave me a comment if you are coming to Tucson for the shows

 creating the desert in glass and metal

 

Desert Inspiration

Desert Inspiration at my house

I love early spring in the desert.  Cool evenings, warm days (but not too hot).  And life begins to bloom….  Just wanted to share some images

Buying gems

buying gems

The Tucson Gem and Jewelry Shows are famous.  Every year in February thousands of vendors flood to Tucson to sell their wares.  I consider myself lucky to live here for these events.  It’s also fun to have my friends visit and shop with me.  I used to have a booth to sell my lampworked beads.  But I gave that up a few years back.  Now I concentrate on the shopping.

A smaller version of the gem shows are here in September.  And this year the show was really small.  I’m wondering how much longer there will be a fall gem show.

But of course I had to check it out and I managed to pick up a few things.

gems and pearls

Some great pearls

labradorite cabs

labradorite cabs

sapphire cabs

rose cut sapphire cabs

turquoise gems

some turquoise beads encrusted with bling

These should keep me busy for awhile.

creating the desert in glass and metal

Monsoon Season in Tucson

Monsoon

Monsoon

A monsoon is caused by warm air creating surface low pressure zones that in turn draw moist air from the oceans.

So you wonder how can Arizona have a monsoon season?

In the summer Arizona winds shift to a southeasterly wind bringing moisture from the Gulfs of Mexico and California. The wind shift and increase in moisture combine with the surface low pressure from the desert heat to produce storms usually a heavy rainfall in the late afternoon or evening. Before the rain there is usually increased wind.  And most of the time the monsoon cools the temperature down.

I like the monsoon season in Tucson which is said to last from June 15th to September 15th.  The rains help my garden and the cooling temps are nice.  But the colors in the skies are awesome and provide lots of inspiration for beads and jewelry.

Monsoon

Jewelry Inspired by the Monsoon colors

monsoon bracelet

Here is a crocheted bracelet inspired by our monsoon weather.  The beads were strung on a charcoal gray thread and crocheted over a sterling silver wire which gives this bangle structure.  Finished with sterling silver bead caps and 2 lampworked beads.  The beads are approximately 3/4″ of clear glass with flashes of pink and orange in the raised dots.  Lots of gorgeous chatoyency in those dots.  It fits an average wrist.

creating the desert in glass and metal

 

 

 

 

The Tucson Gem and Jewelry Shows

the Tucson Gem Shows

 

Every year in February Tucson is host to “The Gem Show” which attracts tens of thousands of attendees from around the world.  It is not just one show, but a collection of 40 – 50 separate venues spread all over the Tucson area – in tents, at hotels and in RV’s.  There is something for everybody – gems, finished jewelry, tools, equipment, artifacts, beads, classes, minerals, rocks – polished and rough, fossils, and more.  And yes, it is overwhelming.  I have been attending since 2002.  Here is a link to the schedule of shows 

So I thought I would make a quick list of tips especially if you are a new attendee….

  1. Have a plan.  Find the shows that have vendors that you are interested in and plan your route.  You can do this online before you arrive in Tucson, but as soon as you are here pick up a 2014 guide which can be found for free at each venue you attend.tucson Guide  And remember you cannot see it all and the traffic is a nightmare.
  2. Book your hotel early.  It used to be that EVERY hotel in the area would sell out, but since the recession rooms can still be found right up to the beginning of the show.
  3. Pre-register for the shows you want to attend because the lines do get long especially on opening day.  And that will cut into your shopping time.  Many of the shows are wholesale only so bring copies of your resale tax certificate or business license, and of course business cards.  I actually print up that information on labels because each individual vendor at a show will also ask you to fill out forms to show that you qualify as a wholesale purchaser and the labels save time.
  4. Bring cash.  Yes, credit cards are widely accepted (make sure you call them and tell them where you will be), but cash is quicker.  It will be a time saver and sometimes you can negotiate a bigger discount by paying with cash.
  5. Parking.  Yes, you can park at most shows; some have free parking and some is paid parking.  And there is a shuttle service to many of the shows.  So you can choose to park once and then use the shuttle.  Just remember that at the end of the day there are long lines to get the shuttle, and you can get stranded…. Been there; done that!
  6. A roller bag is a must if you are a big shopper.  Those beads and rocks get heavy really fast!
  7. Bring bottled water.  It’s a dry heat here in Tucson!
  8. Bring snacks.  There are many places to catch a bite to eat, but I never wanted to waste the time.
  9. Some shows are outdoors…. Bring a hat and sunscreen.  and comfortable shoes.
  10. Bring bottled water…. Did I mention to bring bottled water?
  11. You can try to take notes; that just doesn’t work for me.  Just make sure to get the vendor’s business cards and website information so you can purchase throughout the year.  I organize all this information at the end of the day in a notebook on Evernote…  (a wonderful app!)
  12. Bring a camera.  What you will see will just be too amazing to describe in words.
  13. Consider taking a class if that interests you.  There are many classes offered at the shows now.  This will be my second year at Art Retreat in the Desert
  14. Then in the evening dine and relax at one of the wonderful restaurants in Tucson.  Go to bed early and start again the next day.
  15. And oh, yeah… bring plenty of water with you each day.  Did I mention you need to have water?

 

tagline

Thunder and Bead Crochet

Raining in Tucson photo

 

Did you know that thunder only happens when it’s raining? It’s thundering right now here in Tucson. And it is trying very hard to rain; little splashes of water, not really a steady rain. Now that I wrote that I am reminded of the song by Fleetwood Mac…”Dreams”. Funny what triggers a memory. Are all those song lyrics stored up there in my brain? Now I can’t get that song out of my mind.

I am home from a glorious 2 week vacation and I am trying to catch up – with mail, with email, with sleep. I need to get into the studio to make some beads, but I have been sidetracked with some bead crochet. I have a love hate relationship with those tiny little seed beads. I love them and I hate that they keep me from doing what I should do….. but I’m the boss right? Plus I usually add my lampworked beads to the crocheted ropes. Haven’t done one in awhile and have some new ideas…. I just finished a 24 inch rope that I plan to wear as a bracelet, but I feel the need to have a coordinating necklace too. This piece was worked in bead crochet as opposed to crocheting with beads. There is a difference. But I will leave that explanation for another day. The colors are yummy – the expensive delicas… 24 carart over glass.

Bead Crochet Bracelet

What’s blooming in my yard

Hedgehog CactusThe purple to magenta flowers and usually four well-armed central spines help to identify this common desert cactus.  Also known as saint’s cactus, strawberry cactus, strawberry hedgehog cactus, and purple torch. Protected in Arizona and Nevada. Englemann’s is one of the most common hedgehog cacti found in the southwestern deserts. The edible fruit is said to taste like strawberries, lending it one of its common names.

Another source of my inspiration.  I am trying to reproduce this color in glass….  not easy.

Snow in Tucson

Pusch Ridge with snow

Here is a photo of snow on Pusch Ridge, Tucson, AZ taken from my driveway.