I came. I flamed. I soldered (a sterling silver circle bracelet with some pretty funky looking circles. But of course, I like it!) See photo.)
My First Attempt At Soldering
And no human, animal or object got harmed in the making of this bracelet.
Mind you, this is the very first time I have ever held, let alone used, a hand torch. It was fun. Really! You’ve got to admit it’s the cutest little thing! So cute that I think I will have to name it. (It is wrong to name your hand tools like you would your pet?)
BeadFest, for those who aren’t familiar with it, is 3 or 4 day event held in various parts of the country featuring anything and everything that has to do with beads and jewelry making. At the heart of it all is a grand exhibition hall boasting almost 200 vendor booths.
The Cutest Little Hand Torch Ever
But BeadFest is also about the classes. People (95% women, IMHO) come from all over the country to take classes in wire work, metalsmithing, bead work and weaving and more. In my class of 12 today, there were women from North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Florida.
Some of the women were staying the entire four days. I was doing some of the math in my head – and realized what a pricey couple of days that is. First, there’s the cost of travelling. Add in hotel and food costs. Classes run from about $135 up to $235. Some are four hour courses, others are all day (8:30 – 4:30).
Note to self: bring bottled water and some p-butter crackers for tomorrow’s all day class in case there is no break.
A few posts back, I listed a few things you should bring with you if you’re coming to BeadFest. One was a wheeled case. Guess who didn’t get to Whole Foods in time to purchase her wheeled bag?
Uh-huh. That would be me. When I started out this morning, I brought all the required tools in a nice, roomy shoulder-type carry bag. Plus, I had a small pocketbook with me. All was good until I actually got to the registration table and realized the classes were “way over there” in another building connected to the exhibit hall.
Note to self: consider a GPS next time. Or at least, ask someone SOONER where the friggin’ room is.
While I got to the convention center with time to spare, I was the last one to enter the classroom as the class was about to start. Why? Because I walked around in circles trying to find the right room.
The Valley Forge t Center is not just one building, but three that are connected by a long series of windy hallways and stairways that lead who-knows-where. The three buildings are: the actual convention center/exhibit space…The Radisson hotel with its meeting rooms and banquet spaces…and Scanticon.
Please – send me an email ASAP if you know what a Scanticon is. I sure don’t. Or why SOME of the meeting rooms are lettered/numbered, and others are names of Philadelphia area towns and/or historic figures. There is no rhyme or reason for what they are named and where they are located.
Good Thing To Know: while walking past the Guest Registration at the Radisson (at least twice) I discovered they have a free help-yourself coffee service.
Note to self: do not take coffee if they are out of lids. (Yes, sad to report, there was spillage involved.)
As started above, though shoulder bag was a tad heavy, I was managing UNTIL I got the “kit” I purchased from the teacher (Thanks Kieu!) felt like a ton of bricks (actually only one – a beautiful new fire brick to call my own). So there I was after class schlepping my new soldering kit – fire brick included – and my filled-with-tools shoulder bag and my little pocketbook.
Note to self: go into hall closet and find the wheeled carry-on bag.
Good thing the exhibits don’t start until tomorrow. I wouldn’t have made it past the first booth without collapsing. Anyway, not bad for day one. Tomorrow: an all-day class in wire-wrapping cabochons.
(Think they’d mind if I bought my little personal torch with me?)