Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hong Kong...Day 2

Today we got more of the flavor and feel of Hong Kong.   Instead of spending the day running from one showroom to another, we first walked up Nathan Road to Temple Street.  

Temple Street is the site of the Produce Market during the day, then the produce and food vendors leave for the day, and in come the sellers for the Temple Street Night Market, which sells everything!!


Our destination was the Jade Market.   Two huge tents full of jade carved into almost everything imaginable.   It was a real test of one's bargaining abilities!

One of the many tables at the Jade Market.

Our little band then crammed into two taxis and headed to the button and trim district.   There I found some great base metal findings, including box clasps and cones.  

I found these darling hand crocheted flowers, some beaded, that would make cute pins or pendants!

And wait til you see the really neat round glass watches with a steampunk brass feel... Adorable!!!

We were off the beaten tourist path while in this part of Hong Kong.   Here we passed by a Buddhist temple.   This open meat market was typical of what we saw....it is a shame I cannot add the scents, too.   Although, not all of them were good.
One last picture from the day.   I do not know what this was all about, but it made an interesting photo!   Tomorrow, we go to shop for stones!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day One in Hong Kong...Pearls

Well, I finally made it to Hong Kong.   It is like New York City on steroids...and Nathan Street (where our hotel is located) is like Broadway.   Everyone is very friendly, and I am loving it.

Our itinerary starts with pearl shopping.   Here is part of our merry band, all fresh-faced, having rested well after a grueling day of flying, ready to face the pearls.
Our first stop was, well, you just have to see the sign yourself.   Yes, that is an "F" starting the first word.   I just could not make this up.


Despite their name, Fook Yue Pearl Co. had tons of very beautiful high end pearls, and I could not resist immersing myself in them.

Even the men got into the act!   Pictured are J-ME and Guy Lynn of Wild Things, our tour organizers.

Our day started at 9am, and we left our last stop at about 6pm.   A full day of pearl shopping.   And look at the loot from just one part of one room of one dealer!

And finally, one parting shot from day one.   I could not help but take a photo of this little pearl house.   Who wants to move in?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

In memorium

On Saturday, November 6th, the bead and gem community of Pittsburgh suffered a great loss.   Bob Patak, owner of Shadyside Mining, lost his brave battle with cancer.

I first met Bob probably 20 years ago, when he had Patak Designs on Carson St on the SouthSide.   My sister was a long time customer, and we met through her.   John and I would stop in occasionally on a Saturday with Jessie, my stepdaughter.   Bob would always give her a special rock....she ended up with a whole bag full!

Bob moved his store to Shadyside, first in a basement level off Walnut Street.   He renamed it Shadyside Mining, and decorated it with large rocks affixed to the walls going down the steps, making it look like you were going into a mine.   When he closed this store (his landlord raised his rent ridiculously) I was in the process of setting up my store, and purchased some of his showcases.

Bob was still selling his stones, but was itching to open another store.   A couple of years later, he reopened Shadyside Mining in its current location on Copeland St, off Walnut.   While Bob claimed he was not in the bead business, he had a wonderful selection of precious and semiprecious stones and pearls, all gathered from his many years of attending the Tucson shows.   He was a very talented jewelry designer, but his real love was the rocks themselves.

When I opened my store in 2003, I did not know very much about stones.  I learned much from Bob, and purchased all my initial stones from him.  When attending the gem shows in Tucson, I would always run into him, and we would always hook up for dinner, either at an Indian restaurant, or Bob's and my favorite, Poca Cosa.   He would stop in my store every once in a while, having run out of crimps or crimp covers, and we would chat about business, and plan for Tucson.

I know that many of my customers were also customers of Bob's, and will always remember him as a kind and generous man.   For myself, I cannot imagine going to Tucson and not running into him, comparing notes on what treasures and bargains we found.   My sincere condolences go out to his lovely wife and two daughters, who became his real precious gems.   Bob will certainly be missed.

Monday, November 8, 2010

UFOs...UnFinished Objects

I used to be such a project-oriented beader.  I would see a project to fruition, then start another.  And, as far as projects at the store (repairs and custom work) I still am, but my personal projects have been sadly neglected.   I often feel like the plumber with leaky pipes, or the shoemaker who's kids run barefoot.

There is last week's Farfalle Bracelet, which hasn't grown since the picture in my last blog entry.   OK, that's not so bad.   Then there is the Spiral Rope Lariet that is awaiting the Russian Leaf fringe from this summer.  Well, that is just a few months....not terrible.

My big cigar box project from two years ago (I think) did get a little bit done to it one evening while beading at a friend's house, but that is all that has been done since starting it.   Then there is the Melanie Potter kit that I purchased in Tucson probably four years ago.   It is a lariet done in a tubular chevron stitch.   I did start it; got about 2 inches done, then decided that I needed to change it to add a different seed bead in the center to make the beading go faster.   It was just too tedious having to count beads each time to get to the center bead to add the next section.  Especially in a long lariet!

Then there are all the projects in my head.   And the new ones I want to try my hands at from Beadwork and Bead and Button.

Not that I haven't finished anything.  I have been doing a lot with the fab chain that we have in the shop.   And I have made a few neck pieces with my latest obsession, vintage brooches.   But the elaborate (and not so elaborate) seed bead work is sitting. 

Maybe now that I have 'fessed up' publicly, I will get moving on some of these UFO's.   Maybe.

Tell us about your UFO's.

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Farfalle Seed Beads at Crystal Bead Bazaar

Last week was a busy one at the store.   My UPS man came in so many times with so many packages that I am calling him Santa!

We got in a nice color selection on Miyuki 4x4 Cubes, Drops and Magatamas.   A few colors of the new Miyuki 2-hole Tila beads have come in, with more to follow as they become available.   I will be playing with them then, and let you know what the results are in the future.

One of the other exciting things to arrive are Farfalle beads.   What are farfalle beads?   They are a seed bead named for the Italian word for butterfly, farfalla, but are most often described as peanut or dumb bell shaped.  Farfalle beads are sort of a double drop bead, with a hole in the center.   When strung, they nest into each other, but really do fantastic things when used with weaving techniques.   They are manufactured by both Matsuno (Japanese) and Preciosa (Czech.)   We have the Czech variety, which I am to understand, has better color.

I have been playing with them in peyote stitch.   They line up so well, standing perfectly upright.   I was really delightfully surprised!   Farfalles in peyote stitch make a really substantial piece, a heavier weight band that is perfect for a bracelet.   They also make up much stiffer than regular seed beads, I think due to the fact that they interlock so well.   You could make a ring with farfalle beads, but not a 'zipper' bead, or a tube to use as a toggle bar, as they will not bend that far.   But that is OK, sometimes you need that stiffer tension.

Check out Maggie's Musings for a good review of farfalle beads, and how they work up in other stitches.

I also found this YouTube video of creating beaded beads using a right angle weave with farfalle.   Enjoy!!