It is getting harder and harder to decide what state to do next lately. New Jersey came up in conversation recently, so it moved to the top of the queue. Overall, New Jersey tends to get somewhat of a bad rap. Suggestions for beading this state involve nuclear waste, route 95 ("oh yeah, what exit?") the Soprano's, Snookie... ewe! Then Snooks had to compete with the crazy "Tan Mom" who has made headlines lately, not helping New Jerseys cause! I considered just making the whole state tan, but I am trying to keep all my themes positive.
What do I think of when I think of New Jersey? First, Bruce Springsteen... my all time favorite musician. However, hard to portray in beads on a 3/4" x 1/4" surface! Next, I dated a guy from Ocean City, NJ for awhile and spent some time there. Negatives: the Blue Laws (which have since been rescinded I believe). Because of religious zealots in the early days of NJ, there were some bizarre laws. Businesses in Ocean City were not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages. No glass of wine in a nice restaurant, etc. Fortunately, at the border of the city were several non-Ocean City establishments ready and willing to sell you alcohol. Another interesting Blue Law had to do with Sunday. No business could sell you items on a Sunday that caused you to do work. For instance, they could sell pre made sandwiches, but not mayonnaise... because you had to make a sandwich with mayo... work. My favorite quirk of this law was that they could sell you paper napkins, but they couldn't sell you toilet paper! I guess you had to work with.... oh, never mind!
Positives: the beach, the boardwalk, again, hard to bead. Also, my friend, Cathy Salerno lives in a beautiful area of NJ. When I last visited her I remember how lush everything was, there were flowers everywhere. Because of this visit, I decided to go with what they advertise on their license plates: New Jersey: the Garden State. Flowers.
As for the construction of this piece... I wanted to bead as many flowers as I could, so I decided to use size 18-22 seed beads. For anyone who hasn't worked with this size bead, they are small...it is like trying to thread sand onto a hair... really small! Try it... once.