Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Here's a picture of all 48 contiguous states. Alaska and Hawaii to follow.... sometime.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

(48) South Carolina

Capitol: Columbia

Coming up with an idea for South Carolina was a real struggle, which explains it's position in the pin project. I have been to and through SC, but couldn't think of anything special. I did find some information on basket making being a traditional South Carolina art form that has been passed on from generation to generation. Not a bad idea. But then I discovered "Messie".

Every now and then, Irmo, SC, has a sighting of some kind of water monster that inhabits Lake Murray. The monster [Messie] first 'surfaced' in 1933 when residents of Irmo and Ballentine (the famous Gilbert Little sighting) saw a cousin of the Loch Ness Monster. (A cousin of the Loch Ness Monster!!! Top that!). Sightings have continued almost every year since then.

It was described in The Independent News in 1980 as "a cross between a snake and something prehistoric." Many folks around Lake Murray claimed to have seen it and, to make matters worse, the Lake Murray Monster was said to be very aggressive. Bingo!

So, I give to you "Messie", beaded as a grainy, black and white photograph.

(47) Virginia

Capitol: Richmond

Despite living in Maryland for 10 years, right next to Virginia, I didn't have any idea what to do for VA. The only thing that popped into my head was that insidious ad campaign, "Virginia is for Lovers". Wasn't really inspiring. So I thought and thought and thought.

Then I started thinking about my dad, who we lost January 4th. From there I thought about how the Navy sent 2 guys to play taps and present the flag to my mom at the funeral, because my dad was in the Navy in WWII. It was so moving. From there my mind wandered to Arlington National Cemetery, where we could have had my dad buried, if we hadn't cremated him and decided to spread his ashes in his favorite place, Conesus Lake. WAIT! Back up... Arlington National Cemetery, isn't that in Virginia!?!? It takes awhile, but eventually I get there!

So, I decided to pay tribute to all those who served our country, and in particular, my dad, by beading a view of Arlington National Cemetery...the rows of stark, white gravestones.

(46) New Hampshire

Capitol: Concord

New Hampshire, another tough one. Small, and mostly known for trees and scenery.

The main thing I think of is "The Old Man of the Mountain", also known as the Great Stone Face or the Profile. It was a series of five granite cliff ledges on Cannon Mountain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, that, when viewed from the north, appeared to be the jagged profile of a face. The rock formation was 1,200 feet above Profile Lake, in the town of Franconia.

The first recorded mention of the Old Man was in 1805. It collapsed on May 3, 2003.

How to bead this on a 3/4" x 1/2" canvas? Well, as luck would have it, New Hampshire chose to put the Old Man on the back of the New Hampshire state quarter. So, I sharpened up my metal sawing skills and cut the Man in the Mountain out of a quarter. I guess you could say the Old Man collapsed twice!

Monday, February 11, 2013

(45) Michigan

Capitol: Lansing

I was soliciting ideas for Michigan and got an earful of ideas about the car industry. Since I already beaded a camper on Iowa, I had no desire to bead a car on Michigan. My daughter's boyfriend hails from Michigan, so she suggested I bead his face. Uh, no.

I found several fun facts about Michigan. For instance, the Kellogg Company has made Battle Creek the Cereal Capital of the World. The Kellogg brothers accidentally discovered the process for producing flaked cereal products and sparked the beginning of the dry cereal industry. Interesting, but not really beadable. Another interesting fact, Michigan has 116 lighthouses and navigational lights. Trouble is, Maine won the beaded lighthouse contest.

Then I discovered that Colon, Michigan is home to the world's largest manufacturer of magic supplies. Whoa! The possibilities are endless! Hence, a rabbit in a hat!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

(44) Missouri

Capitol: Jefferson City

Getting down to the wire here, and the ideas are few and far between! Still struggling with ideas for Virginia, South Carolina, Michigan and New Hampshire. (Alaska and Hawaii are on "hold", while I finish the contiguous states and their display).

I had always planned on doing the Gateway Arch (construction started in 1963) for Missouri, but I needed something else too. Then I discovered that the first Olympic Games hosted in the United States were the 1904 Summer Olympics, held in St. Louis, Missouri. So I paired the Olympic rings with the Gateway Arch.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

(43) Minnesota

Capitol: St. Paul

OK, this is a weird one. My husband says this is too obscure, but this is what I think about when I think about Minnesota. So, let me try to explain.

David Lefkowitz is my husband's cousin. David is an Associate Professor of Art at Carleton College in Northfield, MN, so naturally, he is an artist. I searched David's website ( for a piece of art that I could represent in my project. There is lots of wonderful art on David's site, but most is much to complicated to reduce to this size. Then I found "The Best Painting of Its Kind". This painting immediately made me smile, first for its simplicity, and second because it truly is the best painting of its kind! Also, it's simplicity lent itself to beadwork.

So, I present to you, "The Best Beadwork of the Best Painting of Its Kind" (above), and "The Best Painting of Its Kind" (below).

Monday, February 4, 2013

(42) Maryland

Capitol: Annapolis

Wow, this was a hard one. First, size and shape made cutting out the base and working with this piece incredibly challenging. In this scale, MD is about 3/4" tall, and 1/2" - 1" wide, including the Chesapeake Bay. Normally I wouldn't include a body of water in the piece, but every time I tried to cut the state out without the bay it fell apart. So, bay included.

Second, I spent almost 10 years living in Maryland, so naturally I have many fond memories that could be represented. I worked at IBM, met my husband, got my first dog, 2nd and 3rd cats, bought our first house, learned to mountain bike, started beading, the list goes on and on. All very hard to bead on a mostly 3/4" x 1/2" canvas, split by the Chesapeake! So, off to research.

An interesting fact about Maryland, and one that really lent itself to "bead interpretation" is: "On the morning of August 10, 1813 residents of St. Michaels, having been forewarned of a British attack, hoisted lanterns to the masts of ships and in the tops of the trees. The height of the light caused cannons to overshoot the town. This first known blackout was effective and only one house was struck, and is now known as the "Cannonball House". The town has been know as the town that fooled the British since this historic event".

I beaded the Chesapeake blue, and the rest of the state black, to represent nighttime. Then I added some upright black bugle beads with sparkly crystals on top to represent the raised lights.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

(41) Maine

Capitol: Augusta

Maine. Lobsters. Yumm. Can't figure out how to bead a lobster though. So I went for my second idea, lighthouses. I figured Maine had to have a lot of lighthouses, which it does. But do you know what state has the most lighthouses? Michigan! Who knew. Michigan has 116 lighthouses and navigational lights, and it's not even on the ocean! Maine only has a measly 66. Ha!

But, Maine does have the only candy-striped lighthouse in the U.S.A., in West Quoddy Head. This is Maine’s most famous light and the easternmost point of land in the United States. That certainly seems noteworthy (or at least Jeopardy-worthy!).

I put a sparkly little gem in the lighthouse, looks much better in real-life.

(40) Washington

Capitol: Olympia

I really struggled with this one. Originally (and finally) I had planned to bead Mount Saint Helens, but couldn't figure out how to bead it. I tried to come up up with another idea. Lots of people suggested beading the Space Needle, hmmm., or Starbucks, but it just wasn't happening.

Bill and I spent a wonderful weekend in Seattle years ago, but the only things I remember from that trip are Mt. Ranier and eating at a restaurant with a "maritime theme". The inside of the place looked like an old ship. The lights that dangled from the ceiling swung back and forth to make you feel like you were out at sea! (Didn't work). I don't know how we ended up there, but on the plus side we discovered creme brulee there, because the desert was included with the meal... yum. But I digress...

Back to the pin. Finally I decided to bead Mt. St. Helens, because that is what I think of when I think about Washington state. It is one of the first major natural disasters that I vividly remember tv coverage of. I beaded a 3-D Mt. St. Helens, with the pyroclastic flow (swift avalanches of hot ash, pumice, and gas) spewing forth. At the base, long black bugle beads represent the trees that were ripped from their roots by the blast. The pictures of destruction I found online were amazing.

Here is a side view of the pin, so you can really see the mountain/pyroclastic plume.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

(39) Illinois

Capitol: Springfield

Like most non-Illinois residents, when I think "Illinois", I think "Chicago". I really shouldn't do this since it drives me insane when I tell someone I am from NY and they say "Really, you don't have an accent". That is because I am from Western NY!!!! There is a whole state attached to NYC, but most people think NY means NYC. So, my apologies to the rest of Illinois.

I have spent a few different weekends in Chicago. Once with my mom to go to a Museum to see the "Colleen Moore Dollhouse", and another dollhouse exhibit in another museum. Yes, my mom builds and furnishes dollhouses. The second weekend was with my spouse, to attend one of his cousin's weddings. Both visits were wonderful, and now that I am done with Illinois I wish I had worked dollhouses into it. Unfortunately this information didn't pop into my head until just now. Darn! Next time.

To understand the first idea that I incorporated in this pin, you must understand my love of St. Patrick's Day. It is right up there with Easter as one of my favorite holidays. Easter = Chocolate. St. Patrick's Day = Beer. What's not to like? Well, every March 17th a group in Chicago dyes the river green in honor of St. Patrick's Day. I felt duty-bound to portray that on the Illinois pin.

I needed something more that green though, so I decided to also pay tribute to the "Great Chicago Fire". I didn't know much about this fire, except that it was supposedly started by O'Leary's cow, who kicked over a lantern. (I was going to incorporate the cow into the pin, but Wisconsin already has the cow theme going.) A little research showed that around 300 people died in the fire, and the heart of the city was devastated. I decided to just bead flames, to remind me of the danger of fire. I think it looks pretty cool, but I could do a better job on the flames next time.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

(38) Nebraska

Capitol: Lincoln

Nebraska is another state of which I have an unfavorable view. In the early 80's my college sweetie and I flew to California to pick up an MG from my brother Larry, and drive it back to NY to deliver it to my brother Fran. Well, being an MG it broke down frequently on the drive... at least a few times a day. Something to do with the fuel pump I think. Many people were helpful, but NOT in Nebraska. They mostly yelled out the window of their car: "Buy American"! And don't even get me going on the truck stop! Grrrrr.

Well, I put that behind me and tried to find something about to Nebraska to bead. Most people mentioned the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers. Didn't really stir my creative thoughts. Off to Google. And what did I find? Center pivot irrigation. Huh?

You know when you look out the window of a plane and see farmland that has all sorts of circular fields? Well, those are the result of center pivot irrigation. Nebraska is both the nation's largest producer and user of center pivot irrigation. About 72% of the irrigated land in Nebraska is irrigated with sprinkler systems which are predominantly center pivots. Nebraska's Center Pivot Water Conservation Project is helping pivot irrigators become more efficient in their water management. Fascinating, right?

I liked the idea of a bunch of circles... aka polka dots. Mainly because I have a fabulous polka dotted bike, "Dot". She is blue with pink and white polka dots. So, I decided to view Nebraska's center pivot irrigation through rose colored glasses! (and pay tribute to Dot in the process.)

(37) Arkansas

Capitol: Little Rock

My niece, Kelly, went to the University of Arkansas. When I asked her for ideas (besides a razorback!) she mentioned the rolling hills, trees, etc. Everyone I quizzed mentioned the greenery, forests, lakes, parks. I wanted more, so, off to find something more.

And then I found it... located just outside of Murfreesboro, Crater of Diamonds State Park. CRATER OF DIAMONDS! I just had to bead that.

Crater of Diamonds State Park allows dedicated prospectors to search for precious gems including diamonds, amethyst, garnet, jasper, agate, and quartz. A little research showed that the crater of diamonds is actually just a field. A 37 1/2-acre plowed field, the eroded surface of an ancient volcanic crater that 100 million years ago brought to the surface the diamonds and some of the semi-precious stones lucky visitors find here today.

Facts shmacts I say. I'm beading a darn crater of diamonds! I built up a crater of peyote stitching, then filled it with Swarovski crystals. The crater is surrounded with rolling green hills.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

(36) Delaware .

Capitol: Dover

OK, Delaware is really pushing the limits of my ability to create teeny tiny things. In this scale, Delaware is 1/2" x 1/8". C'mon!

Yes, I feel better now.

Now for a little Delaware trivia. Did you know that the log cabin originated in Finland. (Ha! you thought I was going to say Delaware didn't you!!). Finnish settlers arrived in Delaware in the mid 1600's and brought with them plans for the log cabin, one of the enduring symbols of the American pioneer. One of the cabins has been preserved and is on display at the Delaware Agricultural Museum in Dover.

Well, you certainly can't bead a log cabin on 1/2" x 1/8"!! No matter how small the beads. So, how about a pile of logs? Ooops, I also have to include the silver bead for the state capitol, which divides the state in half. Ok, two piles of logs! I know, desperate. Well, Desperate times call for desperate measures!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

(35) West Virginia

Capitol: Charleston

When I first started dating my spouse we went white water rafting on the New River in WV. I was going to bead a tribute to rafting, but it is hard to represent 5 hours of sheer terror! So, instead, I opted for another fun fact: did you know the first brick street in the world was laid in Charleston, WV, on October 23, 1870, on Summers Street, between Kanawha and Virginia Streets?

Monday, January 14, 2013

(34) Mississippi

Capitol: Jackson

Found lots of fun facts on Mississippi. For instance, in 1902 while on a hunting expedition in Sharkey County, President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt refused to shoot a captured bear. This act resulted in the creation of the world famous teddy bear. However, after the Raggedy Ann on Indiana, I wasn't ready for another stuffed animal.

Next I discovered that the first heart transplant was in Mississippi... although, further research found some challenges to this, but I'm sticking with it.

And then the big find... The International Checkers Hall of Fame is in Petal, Mississippi!!! Who knew? So, I chose a checkerboard background with heart checkers.

(33) Oklahoma

Capitol: Oklahoma City

Not a whole lot of luck finding fun facts on Oklahoma. I am in the midst of reading a book about the survivors of the dust bowl (The Worst Hard Times), and that didn't give me any happy ideas. Digging a little deeper I discovered that the National Weather Center is at the University of Oklahoma.

Thinking about weather made me think about the different seasons, so I decided to represent the four seasons, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. I also decided to mess with different bead textures for each season. The blue in the lower right is Winter. I beaded in concentric circles, instead of a spiral like in the Arizona pin. Unfortunately, the snowflake in the middle of the design is hard to see because the white beads are too close in finish to the blue ones. Oh well, live and learn.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

(32) South Dakota

Capitol: Pierre

The first time I drove across country with my college roommates, Sue Shepler Blum and Debbie Conroy Quinn I was surprised at all that South Dakota had to offer. First we hit the Badlands which were absolutely fabulous. Such foreign landscape for people from Western NY. Then it was off to the Black Hills, more amazing beauty. From there we went to see Mt. Rushmore... WOW. What an amazing feat. Next we saw Crazy Horse, which was just in it's infancy. When I saw it again a few years ago I was amazed at the progress that had been made. I suggest seeing Mt. Rushmore before Crazy Horse, because as amazing a feat Rushmore was, Crazy Horse's size just dwarfs it.

Lots of pondering, and a drawer full of various face beads and cabochons led me to bead Mt. Rushmore. The picture I based this piece on had the sun shining on the faces, making them look golden. Beautiful.

(31) Iowa

Capitol: Des Moines

Iowa is another one of those states I have driven through, but don't remember much about. My original plan was to bead a mini-tribute to the "American Gothic" painting. The artist, Grant Wood, hailed from Iowa. However, I got bogged down in the details again. Back to the drawing board.

Did you know that Winnebago campers and motor homes are manufactured in Winnebago County, Iowa? Neither did I! Now I do, and I felt that a camper would be a good representation of Iowa. This pin is based on the road sign that indicates "motor homes/camper welcome".