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".