Bead Show Adventure

This past weekend I ventured out in the pouring rain to the Whole Bead show in Providence, RI. I’ve been attending this show for years and it’s always been easily accessible off of Route 95, at the Holiday Inn on Atwells Ave. This year, however, they decided to change the location to the Rhode Island Convention Center on Sabin Street. I got lost going by the Mapquest directions but quickly stopped and asked for directions. Ah, why didn’t the directions mention that second left? Argh. Back on track, I found the parking garage and followed the signs up to the 4th level. Thinking of that Seinfeld episode where they get lost in the parking garage, I made a mental note of where I parked my car and headed in.

To say that the halls at a convention center are monstrous is putting it mildly. The booths were set up in a square grid with extremely bright lights illuminating all. The combination of the vendor lights with the hall lights bouncing off the tables of glittery beads gave me an immediate sense of disorientation as I stepped through the hall entrance. I decided to do a walk through to give myself a sense of who was there and what they had to offer. I was also on the lookout for my favorite vendors. Alas, with the change in venue came a change in vendors and I couldn’t locate my favorite stone bead seller, Raj from Oregon. My favorite seed bead seller was there, however, but his inventory of seed beads was half of what it usually was. I did manage to acquire some unique muted fall tones.

I feel another free-form piece starting to brew.

I got some good deals on pearls (75% off) and a beautifully unique bone pendant of Guan Yin’s head cradled in a hand. As I have a pretty extensive bead stash at home, I’m always on the lookout for a unique seller besides the usual stone and crystal beads and precious metal findings. I found one on my way out. Susan K. Nestor Studios from Ann Arbor, MI creates stamped resin pendants in various muted colors like I’ve never seen before. What really caught my eye, however, were the stainless steel and colored silk neckrings she had on display. I’ve been searching for something simple to highlight some free-form peyote and polyclay pendant ideas I’ve been gestating and these were just perfect.

I’m looking forward to playing with my new beads!

Saturday Morning Tea

Happy Fall! This morning I am enjoying a cup of rich, dark Yunnan Golden Tips black tea. While the tea itself is a dark chocolate color, the leaves are a beautiful golden yellow. These are the very tips, the new growth, of the tea tree. In Yunnan province, the particular type of tea plants that grow there are actually trees with very large leaves. The tips are carefully plucked and processed to create special lots of this tea.

I had some fun arranging the wet leaf on this misty rainy morning.

The aroma and taste is of exotic spices and dark honey with a silky smooth mouth feel. There is a hint of earthy smoke in the finish. This tea would go very well with milk or cream but I don’t think it needs a sweetener because of its natural sweetness. I steeped the leaves for 5 minutes in boiling water.

There was a period of time last year where this type of tea was very challenging to obtain. I think it was because of the quickly growing popularity of Pu-ehr teas. The leaf used in the processing of this tea comes from the same area and tea trees as Pu-ehr tea. I’m happy to say that there is a return of the Yunnan blacks this year but a lot of what I’ve seen so far is very special and more expensive.

The weather forecast is for rainy skies all weekend as 2 storms head up the coast to New England. I am going to devote most of my weekend to working (and hopefully finishing) a knitted blanket for my soon to be born granddaughter Ella. That’s why I’ve been quiet this week.¬† All of my free time has been filled with knitting needles and yarn! I’ll post a picture soon.

I’m also headed off to the Whole Bead show in Providence this weekend, too. I’ll post a picture of my newly acquired treasures as soon as I can!