The 3-hour, $12 bracelet!

My first issue of Beadwork magazine arrived, chock full of great projects, and after reading through them, I decided to try Nancy Cain’s bracelet of tubular netting, featured on the cover as The 3-Hour, $12 bracelet. I took the challenge to see if I could meet both those parameters.

I picked up some beautiful olivine and bronze iris seed beads on sale several months ago and – finally - the perfect project to use them. I was right on track staying within the $12 limit, planning to use gold-colored craft wire for the bracelet’s armature. But after stringing the base and beads and testing the fit, I decided Nancy was right, the bracelet needs a 16-gauge dead-soft wire for proper structure. Busted! A foot of gold-filled wire put me over budget. But, oh, how this bracelet feels, hugging my wrist!!!

Did I do better on the time? I’ve done netting in the round before, but with differing main and accent colors. This project uses a single color for the netted base, and, without main and contrast beads, it took a while until I really “saw” the stitch. I finally got it, but had to rip out several rows to correct mistakes. Once I began the embellishment rounds, my normally docile Maine Coon cat, Blaze, began swatting at the bracelet, even grabbing it to make a dash with it across the room. It wasn’t until I took the finished strand outside to photograph it that I understood his attraction!

I didn’t make the 3-hour challenge either, but I’m still blissfully happy with my 4-Hour, $16 Chenille d’Or (Golden Caterpillar) quick summer bracelet!


Triple Crown Cuff

Transplanted Kentuckians, we are loyally glued to our television at 5:00 on the first Saturday in May for the run-up to the Kentucky Derby where you get to see great horses and watch profiles of the world-renowned horsemen and trainers who’ve brought these beautiful thoroughbreds to this day. I still get chills as I raise my silver mint julep cup to the first strains of “My Old Kentucky Home.” This year, I balanced my bead tray on my lap while I watched the race coverage, and made some strides on my Sherry Serafini embroidered cuff.

After cheering Calvin Borel and Super Saver through the finish line, I’ve renamed Sherry’s design the Triple Crown Cuff. It’s been 32 years since we’ve seen a single horse win the Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. A confident Calvin predicted he’d do it this year aboard Super Saver.

I’ve finally finished the cuff. (It’s versatile and with its trio of vintage cabs surrounded by rhinestone chain and pearls, just a tad showy, like Calvin Borel’s mount!) I’ll be wearing it for luck when I turn my attention to Baltimore and the Preakness Stakes tomorrow.


Still Worth a Trip to the Mailbox

Sad to hear yesterday that Newsweek is up for sale, and no potential buyers in sight. When Dan and I married and combined our households in the mid-‘80’s there were only a handful of things we had in duplicate, our subscriptions to Newsweek being one of them. I’ve been eagerly anticipating its arrival in my mailbox each Monday now going on 25 years! The mailboxes have changed, and through the years Newsweek has too. The magazine got a dramatic makeover just about a year ago, and became more intellectual (think essays that add to the conversation) rather than informational. I can’t think of anyone in the land I’d rather have a weekly conversation with than Fareed Zakaria, Jon Meacham and Evan Thomas. Like everyone else, I turn to the web for immediate news. I catch The Daily Show, buy an occasional hardback, and watch the Sunday news shows. And yes, count me in with those people who still like to hold a magazine in their hands every week.

With the last remake, the magazine added a back page feature called Back Story. This week’s page asked "Could You Be a Home Economist in 1950?" and extracted a few questions posed to students from the New York State Regents High School Examination. Here are a couple to test your skills:

If, at dinner, your hostess spreads a whole slice of bread and eats it without breaking it, the most acceptable procedure for you would be to

  1. avoid eating bread

  2. eat bread the same way she does

  3. break your bread into two pieces and spread it as you eat it

  4. break your bread into four pieces and spread it as you eat it

  5. suggest a more desirable practice for eating bread

Having received Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette for Christmas 1962, and reading it from cover to cover, it being the only book I owned, this one was easy. I knew that my hostess’s bad behavior did not relieve me of the responsibility of one of the most challenging of dining skills. The process of consuming a large piece of bread began by breaking it into quarters, buttering a single section, returning the butter knife to the plate and only then, consuming and repeating.

Which of the following is a good rule for the weekly cleaning of a bedroom?

  1. Begin cleaning at the top.

  2. Start sweeping at the door.

  3. Be sure windows are closed to keep out the dust.

  4. Straighten dresser drawers.

  5. Rearrange furniture.