Monthly Archives: January 2012

Red Hot NAMM 2012

Every year I attend the NAMM show – (The National Association of Music Merchants).  I have absolutely no business or reason to attend the show.  I am not a musician and I don’t work in the music business.  But I do love Rock N Roll and thus the NAMM show where where hundreds of people who attend feel the same way.  Dr. Malibu likens the show to a high school reunion, bumping into old friends and reconnecting.   Getting your hands on a NAMM badge takes some connections but it’s not a tragedy if you can’t actually attend the show.  There’s a lot going on outside the convention center walls.

This year I ran across a booth Ultra Case which had a uniquely crafted quilt backdrop.  The owner’s sister in law, Liza, made the quilt using a collection of his treasured vintage rock t-shirts.  If you don’t know anything about quilting, you should know it’s one of the most undervalued and underappreciated forms of art.  To do it well requires a lot of skill, a good eye and even more patience.  Quilts take a long time to make.   I love that the notes along the border play Bohemian Rhapsody.  Amazing!  You an check out Liza’s work here.


You never know what you’ll see NAMM.  People are dressed in some crazy gear, girls are decked out in mini skirts and fishnets, boys in their metal finest, tattoos from head to toe.  A few merchants post scantily clad girls around their booth to attract attention.  Gator Cases put this gator gal on display to capture interest from the crowds.  I couldn’t resist a quick pet and photo op.

I wore my newest and coolest Pink Polkadot Dress and ran into the designer herself – Sharise Neil – who spotted me wearing her dress!

The highlight of the event for me, was meeting Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers!  Chad tolerated my death grip on his jacket and stepping on his toes during my excitement over meeting him and getting a picture!

When the convention center shuts down for the day, the evening is just gearing up.  Groups gather in the Hilton Anaheim lobby or the Marriott.  Literally, people party like rock stars until morning.  I mixed up a few shakers of lemon drops (of course) for the gathering in our room.  Just the right way to kick off the evening where more rounds of reunion occur and new friendships are forged.  Rock on!

Wine Cork Christmas Tree with Beaded Twisted Wire Garland Tutorial

Christmas is a big holiday for my friends over at the Barker Ranch.  Every holiday is celebrated and the house is decorated from floor to ceiling – especially Christmas.   (Or Christmas Hell depending on who you’re talking too)  Every nook and cranny is stuffed with festive décor and it’s a wonder to behold.   I’m not exactly sure how it happens – it’s seems almost magical, even though I’ve been at the start of “Christmas Hell” .

Another well known fact about the Barker Ranch is that they’ve collected quite a few wine corks over the holidays.  Yes, the Barker Ranch heartily supports the California Wine Industry.  It was inevitable that the Wine Cork Christmas Tree was made.

Wine Cork Tree Tutorial:

You will need:

  • You need cardboard paper cone form – easily found at your local craft store.  Don’t buy the foam kind – foam and hot glue are natural enemies.
  • Glue Gun
  • 15 – 20 hot glue sticks (depending on your glue gun and your glue gun skills)
  • Friends who drink wine… a lot of wine… (Caution: this project requires approximately 90 – 100 corks I do not recommend drinking all the wine in one sitting.)
  • Fine gauge wire (approx. 15 – 20 feet)
  • Decorative Beads that fit the width of the wire.

Start at the bottom of your cone form, gluing each cork and pressing it to the form.  The trick is to butt one cork right up against the other – you don’t want to see any gaps.

When you get to the end of the row – you might find yourself with a gap.  Skip it for now (we’ll come back, I promise) and start the next row – over lapping where two corks meet below.  (If you’re anxious over the missing cork portion – I recommend you open another bottle of wine)

Rinse and Repeat, continuing to the top.

When you’re ready to fill in the gaps – take a cork and eyeball where you will need to cut it.  It needs to fit the size of the gap.  Corks are really easy to cut with a sharp knife.  Place the cork on a cutting board and position your knife.  Press the knife and roll the cork, (with your knife) cutting as you go.  This will make an even cut.  Now you can go back and and glue the smaller pieces to fill in the gaps.  I use the blank corks (with out writing) to fill in the gaps.

At the top of the wine tree, you have a choice.  You can either glue wine corks all the way to the top, but if you also drink Champagne, you can easily drill out the bottom of a Champagne cork to fit over the last bit of cone.

Make the Beaded Twisted Wire Garland.

Even a wine cork tree needs a little holiday bling. (Especially if it graces the Barker Ranch).  I saw a lovely beaded garland at my girlfriends charming shop – Mulberry Row – during her holiday open house.  It was so gorgeous I had to buy it.  It seemed perfect for the wine cork tree I made for the Barker Ranch.  But after being commissioned to make 3 more wine cork tree’s, I realized I had to make my own beaded garland.

Luckily, it’s a snap to make!

Measure a length of the wire by loosely wrapping it around and around your wine cork tree.  Bend the wire to mark your spot. Double the length and cut your wire.

Thread all your beads onto the wire.  Move one bead to the middle position.

Twist the wire around the bottom of the bead to secure it.

Move another bead about an 1 inch or 1 1/2 inches from the first bead.  Twist in the opposite direction that you twisted the first bead.  If you twist in the same direction, the first bead will untwist.  I found it easier to grip the bead and twist it around the wire.

Repeat until you have the wire completed beaded.

I left a long tail which I used to attach to the top of the cone form.  Then I hot glued the corks over it, to secure the wire in place.  After wrapping the beaded garland around the cork tree, I secured the other end by using a staple, pushing it into one of the corks on the end.