Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Making Herb Beads at Sweet Remembrances

Last night we took our herb beads on the road, teaching the craft at The Rosemary House. The class was actually held next door at Sweet Remembrances - truly the sister tea room to the herb shop, as sisters run the two businesses. Hmmm.... that sounds familiar.

We got there just a few minutes early and were treated to a short visit in the garden. The gardens behind The Rosemary House in late summer are breathtaking. The shop is now celebrating their 39th year, and the variety of plants in the garden is spectacular - the kind of garden that can only be achieved over the course of many years. Whimsy is the word best used to describe it. If you are ever in the area, you really have to visit! Be sure to stop under the "teapot tree" and sit for a spell in the giant teacup. There are various sections in the garden, some tranquil, some fanciful, and some just plain bursting with unusual fruits and flowers. We took several pictures, and they'll be showing up from time to time in the magazine.

The class itself was held indoors (thank goodness for air-conditioning!). I found myself a bit disconcerted by the idea of trying to talk to several small tables. It seems that I've become so accustomed to writing instructions for crafts that I'll need to practice up my speaking skills again. Even so, the class was filled with enthusiastic participants. Fortunately the class hand-out covered the basics from start to finish, so I'm not TOO worried that anyone left shaking their head.

My sister, Maryanne Schwartz, volunteered to come give me a hand, and that turned out to be a good thing. After we talked a little bit about the original rose beads - those that come out shiny black from being cooked repeatedly in cast iron - we discussed the ingredients that we would be using, how they work, and offered several options to make fragrant herbal beads that can be worn and/or kept as family heirlooms. The class came up one table at a time, and chose the ingredients from an array that were offered.

As they settled in to begin work, everyone talked amongst themselves and we circulated around the tables to make sure everyone had the idea. We were surprised at some of the original shapes and sizes that were made. For the first time ever, several participants decided to make all of the beads before stringing them on the wire. That was a new one, and I think it must be a Mechanicsburg phenomenon.

Now that we've completed the in-person class on beadmaking, we'll be getting ready to do the on-line version. I'll be posting more about that on Monday!

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