Sunday, September 02, 2007

I look down into a million houses

Time flies when it's summer in Seattle. I can't believe it's September already. I think our weather is just getting to be predictably nice here. Yes, when you live in Seattle, the weather occupies a larger amount of brain space than if you live anywhere else. It's just that the summer is so incredible here, you don't want it to end.

Because when it does, the gray, dreary, dark days of winter are just around the corner. And those of us without the financial means to afford a winter home in Arizona or a warm and sunny island, must grit our teeth and dream of how nice the next summer will be, to get us through those depressing days.

But I digress. Today was a gorgeous sunny day out, and I spent the entire day inside bending silver wire until my fingers went numb. I took a class at beadclub, a small bead store in the thriving metropolis of Woodinville, about 20 minutes from home.

Today's class was called "A Day of Earrings" and was taught by Irene Huberman, who is an incredible instructor. She's patient, funny, and excellent at breaking down complex designs into simple steps for those of us who haven't quite mastered the whole hand-eye coordination thing.

Her written instructions are some of the best I've ever seen - perfect to use as reference later when I'm racking my brain trying to remember what I learned in class 3 months ago. She draws little pictures of the wire and where your tools are supposed to go at each step. For someone analytical like me, this is perfect.

So today I learned how to make those French wire hooks for earrings, which means I'll never have to buy those again, jump rings (so easy!), a very complicated wire wrapped connector bead called a kouchi bead (a technique from Afghanistan), another decorative connector called the Egyptian coil, and some cool spiral shapes. A lot of stuff in 5 hours! I barely noticed the time going by.

Irene had us practice with copper wire before moving on to the more expensive sterling silver. The neat thing about that is that the copper is actually harder to work with, so when you get to the silver it seems much easier.

Here are my "kouchi-bubblegum" earrings (the bead at the end looks like a piece of ABC gum):

It was a small class, with about 7 students, and as usual I was the youngest one. What is it with beading - is it really such a middle-aged lady hobby? Aren't there young and hip beaders out there?

As always, I came away from the class with a list of supplies I'd like to add to my 'workshop'. So I ordered two new nice pairs of German pliers and some more silver wire in different gauges (thicknesses) to make more earrings.

And speaking of my workshop, I went to IKEA last weekend and bought a simple desk and a small set of drawers for my beading projects. I've set up shop in one of our guest bedrooms so I won't accidentally gouge holes in our dining table or be forced to gather everything up every time we want to actually use the table for dining, or poker.

My fabulous husband made a deal with me: if I went to IKEA by myself he would put together the furniture for me. I did understand TJ's pain. IKEA Seattle on a Sunday is a scary place. But it was a no-brainer for me. I love to shop, and hate the IKEA assembly process. I'm thrilled about my new space. Watch this space for more project pictures!

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