It's about time I post something about beads!  If you are bead obsessed, and on the road, of course you look up the local bead shop.  A quick Google Map search in Austin pointed us to Bead It. It looks like a sleepy little cottage, but had many rooms behind many rooms filled with all kinds of goodies.  Here are my Czech glass purchases.  I was buying the second to last strand of those blue coins, and their policy is to sell the last strand for half price.  "Would you like that one too?" Of course. Those green nubby beads were too cool to pass up.

They had tons of metal components.  I loved this copper disks and the large beads, the copper dangles and keys begging to be parts of earrings.

I first found these saturn-like links as individual components - the copper beads roll around freely inside the frame - and then the helpful sales lady mentioned that is comes in chain. "One foot or two?" Two, definitely.

After our trip to Austin, we took a trip last week to Houston for the annual meeting of the International Society of Glassbead Makers. Wow, was that ever an awesome experience.  I took one class and then attended a day of the conference, with much shopping in between.  Even though the artists making formal presentations were a billion light years ahead of me, just watching them work and hearing them speak was inspiring, and I learned so much!  I took a class from Donna Felkner, the lovely lady behind CG Bead Rollers.  I bought both the one we used in class and two more.  I also bought that cool marver/rake tool from Karen Leonardo.  She makes lots of fun lamp working tools.

Here are the beads I made during Donna's class.  She loves using EDP (purple) glass so we played with that a lot.  There was a lot of talk of verifying and devitrifying that went well over my head, but I learned from her that I hold my glass too close to the burner, and learned some tricks for using rollers.  Yay!

There were a couple glass vendors but I really liked  Glass Sorbet - a shop that happens to be based in Houston.  They were so helpful (and always 25% off retail!)

For the last three mornings I have been making beads between the "take Emma to basketball camp" and "pick up Michael from golf camp" time - today I made a mostly round hollow bead - yay!  I will post them here when they come out of the kiln.

I am a bit behind on my focus posts - and to be honest my brain isn't very focused at all. Not for any bad reason - but because all I have been doing has been celebrating and having fun!

On July 3rd I retired from the Air Force!

On July 4th we had our annual cul de sac party.  

It started a bunch of years ago, dragging our chairs out to the middle to share some drinks and let the kids light off fireworks, and it's become the highlight of living in our neighborhood.  This year it doubled as my retirement party, which means we rented a jumping castle, a very good friend was DJ, and the neighbors let me invite my extended family and a couple other friends.

Immediately after the festivities Greg and Michael headed to Scout camp...

...and Emma and I took a girls trip to Austin and San Antonio, Texas.  Why?  Because she was born there, and loves BBQ, and because it seemed like a great way to kick off summer of fun.

We stopped by Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX where she was born.

We toured the Texas State Capitol, which is taller than the US Capitol they would like you to know.

And we spent some time strolling around the University of Texas campus.

I love the yummy food and drinks in the Southwest :-)
"Would you like to try tonight's margarita special, ma'am?"  
Definitely a sweet way to celebrate!

See other celebrations here:

Sally gave us "free space" - like the middle-middle wild card space on a bingo card - to post what we want this week.  I have an eclectic selection this week for you...

I did a little cleaning in the studio....

My desk is next....(I think there are Christmas cards in the basket - yikes!)

I founds a deliciously dewy dogwood tree on a recent walk.  Lucky shot - this was taken on my phone and has not been tweaked at all :-)

And tonight we took a walk over to the school to show Grammy what Michael's 6th grade class bought as their class gift.  Interesting choice, definitely fun!

See other "free thinking" here:

I love summer, and it's almost finally, finally here (believe it or not the kids still have school for 3 more days).  Pool's open for sure, and we live close enough to ride our bikes. Just the other night I snapped a couple pictures and then played with them a bit to make the color stand out...

Every swim meet starts with the National Anthem.  
Usually one of the kids sings it or plays it on an instrument.

Wish this was my bike - looooove turquoise!

And I especially covet the pink reflector on the turquoise bike!

See lots more color here...

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