Friday, February 3, 2017

Beaders on the Road

It was a beautiful winter day in Texas, bright sunshine and temperatures in the mid-60s,
Interesting door design,
downtown Temple
when three of us hit the road to Temple, Texas for fun with likeminded artists and artisans. Temple is a relatively small town fairly close to the center of the state; most of its ‘good stuff’ is hidden from the view when you’re on the freeway. Last year we nearly missed the town because of the highway construction; this year the construction seems worse but we found the correct exit with only one detour. What can you expect from an area suffering/benefiting from a rapid growth in population?

Historic architecture
This year I explored a bit of old downtown Temple (information about the history of the town is in Tempting Temple). There is a movement afoot to conduct a major renovation of the area since some wonderful old architecture exists here. From talking to a person who used to work in the area, I learned that the owners of the downtown businesses had been losing money to the newer construction ‘out on the loop’, and consequently let entropy take its course. However, some enterprising investors saw a bargain, purchasing buildings with sound construction and beginning the job of renovation. Currently there are three restaurants in downtown and a set of cute shops at The Hub.
Left: Arcadia Theater
Right T to B: Masonic Lodge, FUMC

Along with the turn of the century architecture on Second Street are some interesting other buildings just off the main drag. The old Arcadia Theater, boarded up mainly because the roof has fallen in, sits next to what once was a hotel. Both are architecturally interesting and may be on the list for restoration. The Masonic Lodge, a red-brick edifice, is still in use as is the tree shaded First United Methodist Church, with its 1890s era gate posts. I am interested to see how the downtown continues to be revitalized when I’m back in Temple for next year’s bead retreat.

The Texas Bead Retreat celebrated its 18th year with about 100 people (and one dog, Ike)
Floating Heart
in attendance. Classes are taught by volunteers, some of whom have a national following. This year three projects caught my fancy; one needed a hammer! Glenn Webster, one of my favorite instructors and co-owner of Just Because Bead Boutique, taught a class on metal working. After some satisfying bashing I came away with a lovely Floating Heart that I got to wear away from class. I’m pretty sure that it’s going to be one of my favorite pieces even though I stamped the date on it as 2019 instead of 2017…sigh. In any case, I once again enjoyed taking a class from Glenn and subsequently visiting with him at the remarkable Bead Boutique.

Flat Cellini
The second piece I’m still working to finish, but only because one has to eat, sleep and attend to other aspects of life rather than spend a couple of hours beading. Chris Overberg, one of the Wild West Bead Society members, taught a Flat Cellini SuperDuo Bracelet class. I was really tickled that she made a kit up just for me with turquoise, coral and black beads; the bracelet is going to be yummy! Chris was very patient with us, particularly those of us who couldn’t seem to count out the correct number of beads and ended up with a piece that was shrinking in places that it shouldn’t. This year I met a number of folks from the Bead Society and although it’s a ‘far piece’ from my house, I’m thinking seriously of joining their inviting and entertaining group.

Rainbow Bridge
And my third project was designed and taught by Ralonda Pattrson. The Rainbow Bridge Bracelet caught my fancy because of its colors and spikes. This is an intense piece that has lots of components – some of which are not playing nicely with me. However, I will persevere! The pattern is well written and easy to follow, it’s those pesky beads that are slowing me down. The class was fun, and Ralonda is a good teacher.

One of the best parts of the TBR this year was the Bead Challenge. We were all sent packets of beads and told to make something. The included seed beads were glow-in-the-dark and also changed color under black light. The triangles had two holes, making it a challenge to know just how to
L to R: Winning entry without and with black light
use them. Those of us who participated turned in our products, which were displayed anonymously. We all got to vote for our favorite pieces. The ingenuity and creativity displayed in all of the pieces was inspiring; we were asked to ‘think outside the box’ and we did. It was really exciting when one of the Near-Normal Travelers, Linnea, won first place!

Where we stayed:

Three of us shared a room at the Hilton Garden Inn (1749 Scott Boulevard, Temple, TX 76504, 254-773-0200). It was as nice as last year, but still had one too few waste baskets. (See Tempting Temple for a full review). For information about my rating system, see Reading the Reviews.

What we ate:
Three and one-half carrots

This year we ventured out for one breakfast and one dinner. Both were at Megg’s Café (1749 Everton Drive, Temple, TX 76504, 254-771-3800) because the food was so good. We thought the service was a bit slow, but found this was because almost everything is cooked when you order it. Even the breads are made on-site and you can taste the freshness.
Top L to R: Menu, Eggs, Beet salad
Bottom L to R: Texas Farm salad, Omelet
Breakfast is served all day, so Barb and Linnea enjoyed their favorite meal, twice. I indulged in two different salads. Barb had scrambled eggs, bacon, and two types of toast. Linnea had a ham and cheese omelet for dinner and scrambled eggs with sausage and two types of toast for breakfast. Both got home fried potatoes. Linnea and 
Barb agreed that their food was very good! I had the small Roasted Beet salad with bib lettuce, goat cheese, and candied pecans for dinner, then the small Texas Farm Vegetable salad with wild arugula, charred broccoli, cauliflower, pancetta, soft boiled egg, pecorino, spicy garlic bread crumbs, and a charred lemon vinaigrette. Even the small salads are large and both were delightful. We’d all go back to Megg’s in a heartbeat! If you visit at prime eating times you are going to wait; this is a popular place for good reason.

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