Saturday, May 26, 2012

(16) New York

Capitol: Albany

Today's entry is New York. This one was particularly hard to come up with since I am from NY. There are soooo many things I could have done with this pin. I had many helpful suggestions, but must address one... NYC. Many people suggested beading something to do with NYC. First of all, there is a WHOLE state attached to NYC. Many residents in Massachussets, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and New Jersey live closer to NYC than much of NY State. So please, stop asking New Yorkers why they don't have an accent!!!

OK, now that that is off my chest...I grew up in Mt. Morris, in Western NY. Population: 3500. I knew people from NYC who had more kids in their graduating class than there were people in my town. We are different from the city!!! Ooops, sorry. Back to Mt. Morris. I could have beaded many things representing my childhood... my family, St. Patrick's School (K-6), Mount Morris Central School Blue Devils!, Letchworth State Park - Grand Canyon of the East, where I lifeguarded for 6 summers, boating on Conesus Lake, College (ok, for those who really know me, colleges). After much thought, I narrowed my idea down to a few things.

First, I wanted to represent the Finger Lakes Region, where I grew up. We had a cottage on Conesus Lake, which I like to call a hangnail of the Finger Lakes. I vaguely remember an Indian tale indicating that the Finger Lakes were carved by a great spirit. After a little googling (when will that stop sounding perverted?) I discovered several theories about why they are called the Finger Lakes:

  1. According to They are long and narrow like fingers. One Folktale about their creation was that Paul Bunyon fell down, and his fingers left the depressions in them.
  2. According to Wikipedia: These largest lakes resemble the others in shape, which collectively reminded early map-makers of human fingers.
  3. Good Morning America: "They are called Finger Lakes because the last time the glaciers receded from this area they gouged out these long, linear [lakes], the longest of which is 40 miles long. There are 11 lakes that are extended like the fingers on one's hands."
  4. The Iroquois, specifically the Seneca, Cayuga and Tuscarora tribes, lived in the upstate New York region called the Finger Lakes. They believed the Great Spirit Manitou rested his hand upon the earth in gratitude for their courage in battle and devotion.

I'm going with the Indians belief, sounds reasonable. This explains the silver hand that adorns the Finger Lakes region on this pin.

Next, Francis Bellamy. Who? Whenever someone asks me where I grew up, my response is Mt. Morris, NY, birthplace of Francis Bellamy. Never, in over 30 years of irritating people with this response has anyone actually known who Francis Bellamy was. So, this is my opportunity to educate at least a small (but incredibly important, beautiful, funny smart..!) segment of society. Francis Bellamy wrote the "Pledge of Allegiance." Now, most of is were required to recite the pledge daily at school during our childhoods. Wouldn't you think that somewhere along the line someone would've actually mentioned who wrote it!?! Everyone one knows who wrote the "Star Spangled Banner", and most of us couldn't even sing that one! Therefore, in honor of Francis Bellamy I made the rest of the state flag-like.

You're welcome.

And finally, I added a few little touches... notice the "diamond ring" on the hand. That is to represent my wedding in the Finger Lakes region. And in the palm of the hand are 3 little blue beads and 1 little pink one. Those are to represent the four Long siblings (my maiden name is Long), all born in... you guessed it... the Finger Lakes Region!

Now, for the beaders in the group, I tried a new material for the base of the bead embroidery for this pin. There is something at Michaels called stiff felt. It works great. And it doesn't have the little fibers like my yard sale stuff.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

(15) North Carolina

Capitol: Raleigh

Up until this point, after finishing each pin another idea was already in my head. Not so this time. I think I am struggling with Rhode Island. It's so darn little! Seriously, it probably can't even be an earring! Instead of figuring this out, I decided to avoid the issue for awhile. Finally, North Carolina popped into my head.

At first thought, North Carolina conjures up vacations to the Outer Banks. Bill and I have been there a few times with friends, and once my parents rented a beach house for my whole extended family. That was a fun week! Hard to put into beads though! Further thought brought back memories of a wonderful week I spent at the "John C. Campbell Folk School". To quote their website: "John C. Campbell Folk School provides experiences in non-competitive learning and community life that are joyful and enlivening. Located in scenic Brasstown, North Carolina, the Folk School offers year-round weeklong and weekend classes for adults in craft, art, music, dance, cooking, gardening, nature studies, photography and writing."

Somewhere in the nineties I took a weeklong stained glass class at the school. Before beading, stained glass was my hobby of choice. A beaded work of stained glass seemed the logical choice for NC. This pattern is similar to one of the pieces I worked on the John C. Campbell Folk School. I still have all of my stained glass tools and a bunch of glass in my basement. Wonder if I will ever get back to it?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

(14) Vermont

Capitol: Montpelier

OK, I need some instant gratification, so it's time to work on some of the northeast states. They are soooo small on this scale. I was trying to think up ideas for Rhode Island last night, and my daughter pointed out that there was only room for the capitol bead and an outline!!! Not much to work with. And forget finding a pin back for that one, it is 1/4" x 1/8"!!! I'll be lucky if it can be attached to an earring back!

So, in honor of my friend, Sue Sudia, I decided to bead Vermont.

Growing up in Western NY, when I thought of Vermont I thought of skiing. I spent most of my childhood skiing at Swain, NY, vertical drop a whopping 650 feet! So skiing in Vermont was the Holy Grail. That was, until I moved to Colorado. Sorry Vermont. You've got nothing on Colorado when it comes to big mountains and great snow. However, you beat the pants off of Colorado when it comes to fall foliage! After 17 years in Colorado I still laugh at the excitement over Fall colors. In the mountains, Fall colors are green evergreens with a sprinkling of yellow Aspen leaves. That's it. Yellow. Vermont gives you all sorts of shades of yellows, oranges, reds, browns, and who knows what. So hold your head high Vermont!

The trouble with this project is the sized of some of the states. Vermont is 7/8" x 1/2". Not much space to work with. I beaded the whole base brown, for the bark of trees (see below). Then I made as many 3D leaves as I could squish into that little space, using yellows, tans, oranges, reds. The picture doesn't do it justice, it is adorable!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

(13) Oregon

Capitol: Salem

Took a forced week off from my Pin Project to plan, execute, and recover from my husband's 50th birthday party. PHEW. Glad that is over. I learned that when you throw your husband a big party the night before Mother's Day, you aren't getting breakfast in bed! Or lunch, or even dinner out for that matter! Soooo, I officially postponed my Mother's Day until the following weekend.

For some reason I needed to bead Oregon next. The only time I have ever been to Oregon was to attend a "Bead and Button" show in Portland. I was a little disappointed that it was in Portland, because I wanted to be able to spend all of my time taking classes and buying beads, but Portland is such a neat place I had to "waste" valuable bead time exploring the city. Needless to say, I was excited when the show was moved to Milwaukee, because I figured there would be nothing to do there, so it would be easy to stay inside. WRONG! Milwaukee is also a neat city with lots to do, and lots of great restaurants. My solution to this problem is to spend more time attending the show, so I have more time to play in the city. Much easier now that my kids are more self-sufficient.

Back to Oregon... while I was in Portland I bought my husband a neat t-shirt with what I later learned was a totem design on the front. The shirt is long gone, but that design is what I think of when I think of Oregon. I did a little googling and discovered the type of art on the shirt was Haida. Unfortunately, all the examples of this art were so detailed it was hard to shrink it down to a 2" x 1 1/2" state of Oregon. First I enlisted the help of my artistic daughter, Emily, to help. She came up with some beautiful designs, but each was just too detailed to bead in this scale. I could've brought out my stash of size 20-22 seed beads, but last time I did that I had to up my glasses prescription! So, I took a little piece out of a work by the late artist Bill Reid. You can view some of his fabulous work online, at I'm pretty sure this piece is some sort of bird, probably a raven, as they play heavily in Haida art.

This was a tough piece to bead because of the precision the design involved. I had a least two needles going most of the time, making sure the rows of beads laid correctly. Then, the curse of "13" struck. I woke up in the middle of the night last night and realized that I had not put the little silver bead that represented the capitol on! Grrrr. First thing this morning I had to delicately break two beads out of the design, and sneak the silver bead in there. Phew.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

(12) California

Capitol: Sacramento

OK, California started out as a hard one. First, it's a big one (still worrying about Texas!). An obvious idea is Hollywood, but I've already done tacky (see Nevada). Many people suggested San Francisco area sights, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, Muir Woods, Monterey Bay, Cannery Row, etc. Trouble is, this project is not a highlight of tourist sights in each state (maybe some states, but not every state). None of the suggestions were inspiring.

Once again I had to turn to my view of the place. I have lived in California twice, in the LA area, and the San Jose area. I have friends and family that live in CA.

I have also visited many times. There is so much to see and do there. Turns out, after all the time I've spent there, my favorite thing to do in CA is to look for cool sea life in tide pools. Coincidentally, I also have a necklace/bracelet set I made that reminds me of tide pools. I have been dying to do some crazy bead embroidery (especially after attending the RMBS Bead Show last weekend that was so inspiring). Also, with global warming, there will probably be lots more tide pools for me to enjoy in coming years!

Sooooo, I present my California pin, a tide pool. For serious bead geeks, here are a few close ups.