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To Bead & Button and Back

As some of you may know Vladislav Ivanov of Golem Studio and I, Amazing Porcelain are show partners.  For the last five years or so we have done a February show in Tucson.  This year we decided to try and branch out and do the Bead & Button show.  This was a bit of a logistical challenge since Vlad has to book his airline ticket a early as possible to get a decent deal and we need to coordinate his arrival and our trip.  We inquired in November about the availability of booths but it took until the beginning of April to be able to lock in a booth and be sure that we were indeed in the show.  This was the first year we have done any shows together other than the Tucson show and one show in Pasadena.  It was a great adventure.  For starters we were going to be driving over a distance that is more than 5 times the size of his entire country.  Before this the longest car ride he had ever been on was when we drove to the show in Pasadena, a mere 5.5 hours compared to the almost 28 total hours it would take to get to Milwaukee.  With the specialized displays plus all the beads flying is a bit out of the question not to mention that with the two of us splitting the expenses the cost is less than flying.  But it is a long trip and a grueling one to do in two days.  The first night we stopped at my friends house in Denver, then on the second day we drove on to Milwaukee, stopping at a rest area just outside the city for a few hours.  Then on into Milwaukee to another friend's house where we stayed for the duration of the show.  The afternoon and the following morning were spent setting up at the show.  On the right you can see a shot of Vlad's side of the booth after we got all set up.

This was quite a show for Vlad.  Not only was it the first time to Bead and Button but he also was a big winner this year in the Bead Dreams competition.  Last year he and Kremena, his wife, won third place in the hand made bead category.  This year they won third place again but then also grabbed the first prize in the category taking two of the three ribbons for the handmade beads category.  A Big congratulations to them both for a job well done.  Needless to say Vlad was a bit over the moon and very difficult to keep focused the day he found out he had won.  He was dancing around the house with this big 'cat that ate the canary' grin on his face.  I'm saying great now get those beads labeled so you can sell them when you get to the show.  Here is a photo of the set that he won first place with in the display along with the ribbon.

After setting up for the show we had the Thursday evening preview time.  It was very busy and we met several of our online friends in person for the first time.  Here in the photo to the left you can see Linda and Petra, two of the online friends we have met on facebook.  Thursday was the busiest of the days at the show but Friday and Saturday were also very busy and there were more new friends that stopped by and said hi.  Unfortunately we didn't get photos of everyone but we did get a chance to chat with most of them for at least a few minutes.  These photos were shot by Vlad I'm the world's worst photographer.  Its not that I can't take good photos I just never remember to take them.

Saturday night we went to a very interesting restaurant called the Safe House.  It is a restaurant with a spy theme and there are lots of fun things going on there.  To get in you first have to pass the door keeper.  She first asks you for a password and if you can't guess the password you have to do some odd behaviour for a few minutes to get in.  Our group of about 16 had to waddle around like penguins and make penguin noises.  Finally when you get in there are all sorts of spy like things.  Old fashioned phone booths that are not exactly phone booths, secret passages, stools that slowly sink into the floor, interactive pictures on the wall, etc.  I had seen a special on tv about this place and recognized the interior immediately so I knew it would be a fun evening.  Here on the left you can see a shot of our group table with one of the interactive walls on the right of the photo behind us.  The top of the wall moves back and forth to change the tops of the figures.

Here is another photo from the Safe House taken by Vlad.  In the background here you can see Lisa Peters, one of our BOC members, and her mother who arrived a bit late and were not able to join the rest of the group but did stop by to chat for a bit.  In the foreground is Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood one of the founders of BOC and Heather Powers of Humble Bead, Diane Hawkey, another ceramic bead artists is on the left of the photo with her back to us.   Vlad and I were sitting next to Marianne Kasparian of Maku Studio on one side of us and the Vintage gals were on the other side.  Across the table was Loreli Erto whom we finally met at this show after knowing her online for quite some time.  This was a great evening outing and really finished of the Saturday evening beautifully.

After the show was over we  headed back down the road to Denver.  Here is a photo of a farm along the way that Vlad took.
We had crammed and packed the car to the gills so that we could bring Chris, of Good Quill Hunting, back to Denver with us.  It was a bit crowded but we had a good time anyway, rocking out to heavy metal and classic rock all the way.  Once we got back to Denver we again stayed with my friend, this time for a couple of days to show Vlad some interesting sights around Denver.

 First stop Red Rocks.  Here is a shot on the road up to the park.  It was a beautiful day for going to the mountains.

Here is Vlad at the top of the amphitheater on the left and a shot of the downtown section of Denver from Red Rocks on the right.

Then someone insisted on a photo that included ME...ack... ok this is my friend Patty who we were staying with on the right in the hat and yours truly.  To the left we have a much better photo of Vlad and Patty standing under a bit of an overhang/cave.

Vlad Standing next to a house
The Addams Family House
Some Mines on the Hill
After Red Rocks we took Vlad up to Tiny Town for a quick look around one of the sort of odd but interesting attractions in the mountains outside Denver.  Tiny Town is a town that has a collection of houses, businesses, mines, and fairy book houses.  Some of the houses and businesses are re-creations of well known Colorado businesses some are fantasy houses some are movie related.  The majority of the houses are about in 2inch to the foot scale although the scale of the houses varies and is not strict.  Some of the houses have occupants or furnishings some do not.  It is sponsored by some local businesses that have built houses or businesses for the town as well as by the admission fees.  It has been washed away a couple of times by flooding on the turkey creek which runs nearby, however, some of the houses date back to the early 1920's.  It has had hard times in the past but many of the houses have been refurbished and there are new ones that have been added as well.  Over all it is a fun location especially for kids or the kid in us all.

Entering the eating area
Mariachi Band
 For the night life in Denver we took Vlad to Casa Bonita.  This is an all time favorite place in Denver.  Its known not for having terrific food but for the atmosphere.  The food is ok but its the atmosphere that you go there for.

Cliff Divers and comedy.
As you can see in these pictures it is a fun place.

Vlad and a decorated Skull

Vlad in one of the rooms
Ancient Village at Bandelier
Ok enough fun in Denver.  Now to head back to Phoenix.  Only one more major stop in the trip.  Vlad is very interested in archeology and ancient ruins so we had planned to make a stop at the Santa Clara Pueblo to see some of the ruins there.  The area we had planned to stop and see was unfortunately closed due to the high fire danger.  Fortunately the friends we stayed with at the pueblo suggested we go to the Bandelier National Monument to see some some similar pueblo ruins.

Mor of the ruins

Paintings on the wall

Yours Truly in a room.

And finally we head back on the final leg to Phoenix.  We arrived home about 11pm on Friday night after a wonderful week trip back from a Great Show.  Hope you enjoyed our trip.


  1. Fun adventure! Loved hearing about it.

  2. What an incredible trip!! Such fun every day. Wonderful to see the shots of B and B and the ancient pueblos. Thanks so much for sharing your adventure with us!!

  3. Such a great post! I am so thrilled that I was able to meet you and Vlad. It was a ton of fun at the Safehouse. And it looks like you made a great vacation out of it. See you next year!
    Enjoy the day!


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