Greetings! I've just returned from a week visiting my mom on Maui, and wanted to first thank everyone who kindly commented on my hollow bead post. You've given me lots of great ideas to think about!
My main objective on vacation was to just have some time to relax and be with mom, and I feel blessed to have achieved that. The things we do when we're alone there together include watching for whales from her condo lanai, playing Rummikub, going for long brisk walks, visiting with her friends, and cooking using local ingredients. I did have some quiet time on my own while on the 5 hour plane trip over there, and a few times while sitting in the sun, and wanted to make the most of it, so I took some beady projects.
Ever since meeting Kate McKinnon and seeing her incredible woven seed bead work I've wanted to try it. Mostly it was just to see if I could do it, and to think about how I might use techniques like that to enhance my own jewelry designs. I took Kate's latest book The Jewelry Architect, and a few practice beads, needle, and beading thread and conditioner. I took an old hand towel and some triangular metal bead tins too. Everything I needed for this (except the book and the towel) fit neatly into a one quart ziplock baggie.
Another project I took was some freshwater pearls and headpins to wire for later use. This required my flat and round nose pliers, which were fine to take on the plane since they were less than seven inches long. I printed out the TSA restricted items page to show any agents who might challenge me on taking these tools on the plane. I have donated a number of items to the TSA bin in the past, and was not keen on giving up my jewelry tools.
Last, I took some brass wire, an 8" long dowel rod, and some small wire cutters to make some Viking Knit tubes for use in bracelets and necklaces. I've tried this on airplanes before and it can be awkward (I tend to use rather long pieces of wire), but I had many a fine hour making tubes on mom's lanai and on the condo's patio. Next step is to draw them down into the desired length and width for my projects. I have to say, this was a real conversation starter by the pool at the condo - friends of my moms (even the men) would see me doing it and come over to ask what it was all about. I had anticipated this from the last time, so I wore a bracelet made from Viking Knit so I could show them the finished piece, and it made sense to them.
Now that I'm back I've got a number of new components to work with in my jewelry, and feel jubilant about the seed bead work in particular. I learned how to understand the instructions that had intimidated me before with their foreign references, and gained confidence that I could indeed make some very different components for my own work. It was empowering!
The only souvenir I'm not so wild about is the nasty head cold I picked up on vacation. Hopefully it will pass soon.