I have the work of a guest designer to share today.
My mother-in-law, who (along with my father-in-law) has been visiting us for the holidays, is an artist, and I always find her comments on the use of color and design in my work very interesting. Although she doesn't actually bead very much herself, she came downstairs today wearing this necklace that she made.
Naturally, I immediately felt compelled to snatch it from her neck and photograph it for the blog. Just a word to the wise - any jewelry that enters my house is fair game. I love her design with its use of the oversized focal stone (Mom didn't remember the type of stone, but it looks like jasper to me - any other thoughts?) - simple yet elegant. The glass dangle was a bit of a found object - something she thinks she dug out of her own mother's jewelry box. She strung them with round lapis beads.
Thanks, Mom, for letting me show this off on the blog. It certainly is nice (and inspiring!) to have creative people in the family.
Isn't this a gorgeous color? This is the first cashmere yarn I ever bought. Noro Cashmel, a 100% cashmere yarn in a worsted weight. Now available on eBay along with a few other (smaller) lots. Go here to view. Thanks!
The day after Christmas, I dug up an old UFO while continuing to go through my yarn stash. (For the uninitiated, this "UFO" is an Unfinished Object rather than the other kind.) Way back in the mid-1990's, I saw an advertisement in Vogue Knitting for a beautiful sweater pattern by Adrienne Vittadini. The sweater was a muted blue-grey color, had a nice cable pattern knit sideways and a cool fringe on the bottom. I coveted it, but for some reason it never occurred to me to try to knit it. I tucked the magazine into my bookshelf and forgot about it.
In 2003, I was cleaning out my bookcase, came across the issue and found the advertisement again. I decided then that I still loved the sweater, and that it would be a great project to knit. The pattern book by that point had been long out of print, but I did manage to track down a copy through an on-line knitting store after a few weeks of searching. (The photo above is from the book rather than the original advertisement.) The original Vittadini yarn was getting hard to find by then, but I did a few test swatches and discovered I had a yarn in my stash that knit up at the right gauge. So I got to work and produced this:
I believe I spent just a couple days knitting this. At that point, we left for New York for a week - and I never picked it up again. Sigh. There are times when momentum is all in my work and when I lose it, I never regain it.
The funny thing is, though, I came across this project over the weekend while sorting yarn for de-stashing (and I will have another couple lots of cashmere coming up in the next few days). And you know what? I still love that sweater pattern. I think I'm going to start over again - alter the neckline to a roll neck (I don't really care for funnel necks) - maybe change the yarn color (I believe I have enough of the same yarn in a navy blue color).
I can't decide if this is an example of the triumph of optimism over experience, or if I'm truly destined to wear this sweater. Two decades out of date. Err. (But, come on, it's still a beautiful pattern, right? Right???)
Finally - the gifts are wrapped, the Some Assembly Required Toy (which took about three hours longer to assemble than I was expecting - I love Playmobil, but I hate the hundreds of miniscule parts) has been assembled, everyone is tucked into their beds (excepting Yours Truly, of course) and, as usual, I'm enjoying the quiet before the storm. We managed to get through the whole day without the Short One realizing that it was Christmas Eve - quite surprising, since he's been counting the days until Christmas this year. I feel slightly guilty for not telling him, but I'll be quite happy to be able to sleep in to a regular hour tomorrow morning. I'm positive this will be the last year for such a luxury.
The SO had a small gingerbread house decorating party earlier this week, so I thought I'd do a last minute show and share. The SO's masterpiece is above. The SO, in his time-honored way, did a good bit of the decorating himself. Not that it stayed that understated, of course. An hour later, it looked like this:
As you can probably tell, he's a big fan of pretzels. We appear to have suffered a bit of a missile attack here, though. His friends (and their Moms) made these two cute houses:
Don't you love the square pretzels for windows? Thanks, M., for bringing those, along with the gumdrops. Here's the second one, with a cute chimney:
I had a leftover house form (I made an extra house, to ward against accidents - in case you can't tell, these were all made around the tops of juice cartons), and the SO was quite happy to decorate that one earlier today with his grandparents:
Clearly, restraint is not in my son's vocabulary.
Incidentally, going into the project, I thought it would be difficult to find Necco wafers outside of a novelty candy store. In fact, I ultimately bought the rolls we used here at a local CVS. Who knew they were still so readily available?
I'm taking the weekend off, so here are your links, in case you go into bead withdrawal while celebrating the holiday (for those of you who celebrate Christmas, of course):
A Bead A Day There is still plenty of time to make some New Year's Eve jewelry! Lisa shares an eye catching bracelet using velvety hearts and chandelier-like egyptian crystals.
Debi Cogwell, aka The Palm Tree Queen, has done it again. Deb is one of my favorite lampwork artists for whimsical glass beads (not to mention an all-around great person - always a plus, in my books). I still have her fantastic hand holding a jack-0-lantern bead in my collection - I posted a pic of it on this blog back in 2007.
Well, this cute set of wedding cake beads came up on her website recently, and I just couldn't resist. I love cake beads generally, and I have a big collection of them. However, I'd never seen whole cake beads complete with beaded glass cake stands before. I think the attention to detail really makes these designs. (And believe it or not, they are substantially cuter in person. It's all I can do not to coo over them.)
I already have a design idea for one of these beads, and I'm sure more will follow.
For goodness sake, if you have a weakness for whimsical beads the way I do, please visit her website - you definitely won't be sorry.
They say bad things happen in threes, and I'm hoping my recent spate of bad things happening to good (?) technology is now over.
1. A few days ago, the battery on the main cordless phone in the house went on the fritz. Irritating, but I could live with replacing a battery.
2. Saturday, I was in a rush, dumped my laundry in without checking the relevant pockets - and accidentally sent my cell phone through the washing machine. We did bury it and the battery in rice as that recent Yahoo article suggested, but it's still dead as a doornail (doorknob? Whatever. You know what I mean.) This cheesed me off, but, of course, I have no one to blame but myself (and my bad memory).
3. Today, we looked away from the Short One for a few moments while he was playing a computer game on our MacBook - and, when we looked back, he had managed to crack the screen. Great. As much as the SO is significantly more mature than a year ago, sometimes we forget that he's still apt to do funny things at a moments notice. We're still not quite sure how he managed to break the screen, but absent one of his imaginary Mickey Mouse friends giving it a whack, we see no other possible culprits. Needless to say, we've booked time at our local Apple Store to see how much getting it fixed is going to set us back.
I hope your weekend was slightly better than ours. I think I will go console myself by taking another gander at these nifty bead and jewelry links:
A Bead A Day Lisa shares a special gift she received from a friend, SHRINKY DINK earrings!! Still a great product after all these years!!
Art Bead Scene It's the last ABS monthly challenge of 2009. Are you running out of ideas and inspiration? ABS has just the antidote! http://artbeadscene.blogspot.com/2009/12/designer-of-week-inspiration.html
The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton Thinking deep thoughts, Andrew offers up a sumptuous bracelet and adds a new bronze charm to his shop. Strands of Beads Melissa shares a cute find - sterling silver elephant clasps. ps. The photo has nothing to do with anything in this post. I snapped the shot one day when the SO and I were playing with his blocks - I just thought it looked cool...
Teacher gifts have been made, wrapped and given out, and I can check one thing off of my list of things to do. Small, but significant. Meanwhile, conversations at our house have been taking a seasonal turn:
SO: How can I give the picture I made to Santa if he comes down the chimney? Me: Well, we could leave it by his cookies and glass of milk. SO: Cookies? Santa gets cookies? Me: Sure, he does. It's hard work delivering all of those gifts, you know. SO: (considering) Well...okay. But only two!
Jade Sapphire, 2-ply 100% cashmere in "vintage rose"
For reasons unrelated to this post, I have been spending the past couple days rooting around in my yarn stash. I have so much treasure here, it's completely ridiculous. I've decided to let go of a few of the more prized skeins in my collection, including cashmere from Jade Sapphire, Filatura di Crosa, Joseph Galler and Noro. Yep, it's a cashmere yarn sale.
This is probably the worst week imaginable to list stuff on eBay, and my experience listing the five lots I have up there now was as salubrious as ever (which is to say, not at all), but I thought I'd at least try it once, while I have momentum in that direction.
So, if you are a knitter or if you are simply curious, follow this link for examples of the ambrosia of knitting yarn at reduced prices.
Okay, I started this post at 2pm and it is now 11:40pm. Alas. This is pretty typical of how my holiday season has been going so far this year.
Now on to the good stuff. These cute little lampworked seasonal beads were given to me by the good folks at Rings & Things, and I've decided that they would do an excellent job in spreading a little (last-minute) holiday cheer. If you would like to find these in your Christmas stocking (or would like to put them in a loved one's Christmas stocking), please leave a comment after this post. I will pick a name at random Friday afternoon.
ADDENDUM: If you use the "Anonymous" post function, be sure to leave your name in the body of the post - so I actually know who is entering!
Please do check back on Friday to see if you won! (Remember, I will need your shipping address post haste, in order to get them out to you by the 25th.)
I received my advance copies of the January/February 2010 issue of Step by Step Beads in the mail yesterday. This is the last issue of the magazine that will be published. It makes me sad - the magazine was beautifully produced, and I always enjoyed reading it. It was one of the first magazines to which I ever submitted projects, and the editors there always treated my work well.
I'm pleased to be a part of the magazine's "last dance" - I have a necklace project in the issue using one of my double-sided box pendants (see the prototype here).
I received my advance copy of Barb Switzer's new book, Four Seasons of Beading, a couple days ago. I have two projects in it: a necklace (which also appears on the back cover) and a Christmas tree earring project. Here's the photo of the necklace:
(Incidentally, the necklace was created around a strand of mixed seed pods which I discussed earlier in the year here.)
Anyway, as is usual with the projects that Barb helms, the book is quite beautiful. The projects in the book are organized around, yes, the four seasons, and they range across a satisfying spectrum of styles from cute to sophisticated, elegant to over-the-top - something for every occasion and mood. If you would like to view photos of some of the other projects in the book, trot on over to Annie's Attic and click on the "See More Photos" link.
I had a very kind inquiry about my whereabouts earlier today, and I'm checking in to say that I'm completely fine - just feeling a little tired.
I must confess - I arrived home from our Thanksgiving travels not merely uninterested in beads and jewelry but downright disinterested. So disinterested, in fact, that I tucked away the two containers of beads and findings I brought back with me and never even bothered to unpack them. So I ended up taking a bit of unexpected time off.
Instead I have spent the past couple weeks organizing. My husband and I tended toward clutter even before the Short One arrived on the scene. Add in all the SO's accoutrements in the mix along with all of my jewelry designing tools and sheer stash, and it's been chaos in our house for the past several years. My reason finally snapped audibly two weeks ago, and I announced to my family in no uncertain terms that we were going to clean out our living area if it killed us. H. - who is all too familiar with the whole Spouse-on-a-Rampage Syndrome by now - has been speaking to me in that too-reasonable tone of voice one tends to use with the mildly insane since then, but by golly, the house is more liveable than it has been since, uh, 2005. When we moved in.
Anyway, as I say, I received a thoughtful inquiry about my dropping off the face of the blogosphere today, and, after some consideration, I tentatively spent the evening getting caught up on my blog reading. Which got me excited about beads again. Which made me think it's time to get back into the swing of things.
Heck, I even opened up my boxes of new acquisitions. Which brings me to the above photograph. These clasps were completely new to me, and they're the sweetest rendition of your basic lobster claw clasp (elephant trunk clasp?) I've ever seen. Seriously, aren't they cute? Wonderfully functional, too. If you are interested, they are available through Bruce Frank Beads. (EDIT: -but not through their on-line store. You'll have to call them directly if you want to order some. Just FYI!)
What the heck - I decided at the last minute to hold a sale. 30% off everything in my Etsy store (including the above ruby, amber, wood and - of course- fine silver necklace that appears in the Fall 2009 issue of Stringing) through Tuesday, December 1st. I can't remember the last time I held a store-wide sale, but I've been so disorganized about every aspect of the holiday this year (alas), and it seems like a good thing to do.
Sale prices apply only to in-stock items (prices have already been changed to reflect the discount on my listings). Why not take a look? At the very least, it should make a restful change from elbowing through the crowds at the mall. Thanks for your time!
Or if you don't feel like shopping right now, here are your intriguing beady links for the week:
Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! Ah, Etsy! So many of our problems solved by visiting Etsy for gifts for our dearest friends at this time of year. Take a look at this premade pendant, which also comes in a kit so you can teach yourself if you prefer. It's all jump rings and it's all beautiful. The Alchemist's Star!
Beading Arts Cyndi shares some simple CopprClay pendants that you can have ready in time for holiday gift-giving!
Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Melanie gives her review of Enchanted Adornments, and gives a reminder to enter teh Art Bead Scene monthly challenge for your chance to win a copy of it and some other great beads, including new Earthenwood beads!
Strands of Beads Melissa is thankful for generous friends - who share their beading supplies!
Hear ye, hear ye: Artbeads.com is having a three-day After-Thanksgiving sale - 20% off, storewide, until 9:00am (PST) Monday, November 30, 2009.
Even though I just came back from our Thanksgiving holiday break with a boatload of new materials, I succumbed and bought this pendant that I've been drooling after since the summer. It's one of the lovely hand-painted Russian onyx ones. This particular pendant is based on Picasso's The Dream. It was a tough call between the above and one of the beautiful Murano glass beads that the store now carries, though.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I have had a $20.00 gift certficate, courtesy of Artbeads.com, sitting in my drawer for the past few weeks. Throw in the 20% discount, and the usual free shipping from Artbeads.com - well, the stars just aligned. Ahem.)
Perhaps it would be a good time to pick up components to make holiday gifts? (Or is it just me that's horribly behind in getting ready for Christmas?)
Kate McKinnon had this super-cool Moon bead on her blog (I can't seem to hot-link to the post but it's dated Nov 19th - well worth the look if you like metal clay (and if you don't, what are you doing reading this?)), and it made me think of my, well, significantly cruder prototype Saturn bead that I made in 2008 and meant to re-work (really truly, no foolin'). Being the geek that I am, I do love astronomy themes. Back in 2008, I had Ambitions to do more space beads, and well, it's on my list for 2010. Including revisiting Saturn. But here's the prototype in the meantime.
I'm taking next week off to spend time with family and friends over Thanksgiving. I hope everyone has a great holiday! Before I go, here are your bead and jewelry links for the week:
...someone who will let you rummage around in their collection of sea glass. And select pieces for making jewelry.
I want to fool around a little more with the floating box-in-a-box design, but I really only had those three teenie pieces of sea glass. I knew one of my friends had collected some this summer while playing at the beach with her son, so I asked her if she'd be willing to give me a few pieces to use.
Well, she drove up to my car this morning, while I was dropping off the Short One at pre-school, said "Here" and handed me this huge-y jar. My heart skipped a beat. How beautiful is this, right? I'm busy going through it right now for some pieces small enough for pendants.
Thanks, Merrilu - you're a brick!
(Does anyone else have stories of beady generosity they'd like to share? It seems like a good time for it!)
Among the many interesting comments left for that post, Christine Ritchey advised me to keep any mold the dentist might make of my own teeth for future creative endeavors. (Christine, I thought to myself back then, you over-the-top artist, you.) However, I guess this thought stuck in my head. When I had to have a crown put in earlier this year, at the last minute I asked my dentist to give me the temporary after he'd taken it out. Our family dentist is such a nice man - instead of looking at me cross-eyed at such a request, he cheerfully said "I even have this nice box for you to keep it in!"
I must admit, although the vintage ceramic teeth didn't phase me a bit (in fact, I still think they are cool), I have not been able to bring myself to work with my own temporary crown. In fact, I am weirded out enough by it not to have opened the box since I brought it home from the dentist. I think the fact that it actually resided in a person's mouth for three weeks, even my own mouth, is giving me problems. So now this little box lurks in a dark corner of my stash. Waiting for just the right macabre turn of mind to be used, no doubt. For the moment, though, I avert my eyes and pretend it's not there whenever I open that particularly drawer!
(Oh, and as far as that nice, pristine set of ceramic teeth is concerned - I have used them, all of them, in a major piece of jewelry. I think they have that je ne sais quoi. I can't show the necklace to you right now, but probably in a couple months...)
Here's an example of what happens when I try to take photos for the blog when Certain People are awake and interested. Yeah. (By the way, in case you are wondering, these are components for hand puppets. Plus a foot.)
I'm happy to report that I'm feeling much better, so much so that I made it to (and survived, more or less) both the Greatest Show on Earth and Chuck E. Cheese this weekend. This was the Short One's first circus experience (and our first circus experience in about 35 years). Although he had a distressing tendency to become absorbed in his little circus light stick toy at pivotal moments of the show and commented afterward that his favorite part was watching the cotton candy sellers walk up and down the aisles, I think it was overall a successful outing. At least, by our standards.
So I'm feeling a little more optimistic at the start of this week. Who knows? Maybe I'll even get a little beading done. I hope you have a good week, too.
In the meantime, here are your bead and jewelry links for the week:
The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton Using a hand-painted Russian pendant from Artbeads.com, Andrew creates an enchanting response to Art Bead Scene's November prompt: Dadd's The Fairy Fellers' Master-Stroke.
Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! In the spirit of the season, whereby "you can get nything you want" as in the famous Alice's Restaurant song by Arlo, you can get some fascinating things at Andrew Thornton's store. Great for holidays to come!
Here's a simple necklace I made a while back with these groovy Chinese turquoise drums (I lucked out - I only had five of them and they balance perfectly, weight-wise) and my lunar phases donut. It wears quite nicely, if I may say so myself.
I've been wanting to do so much this past week and have accomplished pretty much nothing. This cold has been pretty pernicious - everyone in our house has recovered except me. I just can't seem to shake the bone-rattling cough I've developed. Argh. I've been doodling new ideas on a pad of paper from time to time, but that's it. I hope your week has been more productive than mine! Have a great weekend.
I'm still suffering from that hacking cough, so I'm up tonight. I found this tabbed on my husband's account and really enjoyed it (I presume he got it from Boing Boing or Neatorama), so I'm passing it along. This speaks to me on several different levels - I was a big Journey fan as a kid. Later on, as an undergraduate, I always enjoyed listening to the a capella groups that were popular on campus (there was nothing like listening to the Krock's rendition of Lehrer's "Masochism Tango" back then). Sam Tsui sings all parts here in this version of "Don't Stop Believing" and the video was produced by Kurt Schneider. Brilliant! (ps. They also do a mean Michael Jackson Medley, also available on YouTube.)
Yes, this is what it looks like - πtaken to eight decimal points. I made this "Piece of Pi" pendant and tucked it away in my Etsy store last year completely on a whim, thinking it would just sit around looking beautifully mathematical. So, of course, it sold almost immediately. I find it quite thrilling that there are actually other geeky, jewelry-loving people out there in the world. I've been thinking I might make a more complex version this year...
I hope everyone had a great weekend. Here are your new bead and jewelry links for the week:
So, I finally had a chance to sit down with my stash of Friendly Plastic, courtesy of the good folks at Amaco. As I mentioned earlier, although Friendly Plastic has been around for years, I'd never used the product. Playing with all of those mouth-wateringly bold colors was really appealing to me. Amaco offers significant product support for Friendly Plastic on their website, including a number of sample projects (of which my favorite is this one).
One thing I will say, having spent several hours with the product - it did take me a little practice to use it, even to create the simple graphic pendants I made for this post. Friendly Plastic becomes moldable when heated, but the melt point is low enough that it's easy for a neophyte like me to shoot past the target range and end up with a too-gooey substance. I think this is where the choice of heat source becomes crucial. I used my craft toaster oven, and I found it a real handicap not to be able to see how pliable the material was becoming in the heat without taking my non-stick sheet out of the oven every five seconds. I think an electric griddle (the recommended method for heating up Friendly Plastic) or a heat gun would be definitely preferable.
However, Friendly Plastic takes cutters beautifully, and it's a much more forgiving method of using the product with the toaster oven. Even if the plastic is quite soft, it will still take a cutter well (as long as you are careful to wait until the plastic cools to lift the cut-out from the non-stick sheet to avoid distortion). Given this, and - well, frankly - because the bright colors of plastic reminded me of superhero costumes, I decided to focus on creating some bold, colorful pendants with the material.
Because Friendly Plastic will bond to itself when heated, it is relatively easy to create nice inlay designs with the material. I wanted as little distortion as possible in my designs, so I did not completely inlay each of the pieces in these pendants. The UV resin I used to seal them - Lisa Pavelka's Magic-Glos - domed over the designs (with one exception, above, and I liked the paper-mache effect it gave the piece, so I did not apply a second coat), so the raised surface of the pendant really didn't affect the finished product.
My product samples are all metallic sticks (the material is also available in pellet form), but they are metallic only on one side. When I wanted a more matte-looking surface, I simply flipped them over (the blue moon, above, is an example of using the reverse side of a stick). I also discovered that, when I use the sticks in this way, and use cut-out pieces as inlay, the edges curl up just enough as it softens to create an interesting metallic border around the cut-out piece.
To finish the two pendants, I used bails from my stash that were provided to me earlier, courtesy of Rings & Things. I simply attached plastic button shanks to the other two. (By the way, in case you're wondering - it was quite easy to punch stringing holes in the Friendly Plastic, but I discovered after several aborted attempts that I could not cleanly drill through the Magic-Glos the way I would with other types of resin.) I think the Friendly Plastic colors look good strung with brightly colored lucite and resin beads. I also think these simple designs would make excellent, funky rings - just attach to ring blanks, and they're good to go!
Thank you to Amaco for giving me the opportunity to play with this fascinating product!
I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween yesterday. Robin Hood set out intrepidly to steal candy from the rich etc. last night. Apart from one incident involving our neighbor decked out as a 7-foot ghoul stalking the trick or treaters (the family had quite a set-up involving open coffins, lights and dry ice out on their front lawn - I haven't seen anyone get into the holiday so much since my own childhood), RH handled himself very well.
For my part, I decided to forgo my usual post at the door for ten minutes in favor of following RH and his Dad a few houses down the block. I left a bowl of candy at the front door and returned to a feeding frenzy of six-year-olds attacking the contents as if their lives depended on it. (I will say that, even though they didn't realize I was the owner of the bowl as I approached the house, they did leave three pieces.)
As you can see, above, the Short One made me a nice necklace to wear for Halloween - which, of course, I did!
Here's something that's been adding a huge amount of color to my work area lately. It's Friendly Plastic from the good folks at Amaco. Of course, I use Amaco products all of the time when I work with metal clay, but I have never tried Friendly Plastic.
My eye is really attracted to these luminescent metallic sticks. I've got a few ideas percolating for them, and I'm about to embark on my great adventure playing with a little more color than I'm used to using in my work. Cool! Color is good. I should have a few things to show you next week. In the meantime, here's a sneak peek at my lovely materials.
If you are already a Friendly Plastic afficianado, remember there's still time to enter the Friendly Plastic Open Design Challenge! Hurry, though - the postmark deadline is November 6th. (Oh, and if you are already a veteran Friendly Plastic crafter, tips are very welcome on this end - be sure to leave me a comment! Thanks!)
ps. One last bit of shameless self-promo from me. This is from a few days ago now, but here's what the postman brought me earlier this week.
Well, okay, he didn't bring the bobble head T-ball player - when the Short One saw my nice trophy, he insisted that I get down his special trophy and put the two of them together. As a set, they make a decent statement on our family interests, I think.
I have been reading Enchanted Adornments since it arrived, and yes, it was so worth the wait. (And I'm not just saying that because "Cabinet of Curiosities" is in the gallery). This is as beautifully-crafted a book as you are likely to see - just enjoyable to sit and flip through, apart from all the stunning amount of information that's packed into the book.
Don't tell my husband, but I've had this weird urge to kiss the postman - he's been bringing me so many goodies lately.
I just received the November 2009 issue of Bead Trends. I have a necklace in here using my tree pendant, some really stunning rough citrine chunks I found at Enbeadia and beautiful faceted lemon quartz from Ayla's Originals (one of my local go-to places for nice stone). The photography in this issue is, as usual, wonderful. I was afraid it would be difficult to capture the incandescent quality of the stone, due to its paleness, but the photographer did an excellent job, with nice close-ups of the stone and clasp. Thank you, Bead Trends!
If anyone's interested, here's the necklace I made for my mother, complete with a photo of the Short One from his innocent, drooling days. The photo is just stuck in the box - I did not fill the well with resin, so the image can be swapped out easily at a later date, if desired. That's the theory at least - we'll see how well it all holds up in practice. The hexagonal slab-cut stone is ruby and the spacers are amethyst.
I received some nice surprises in the mail today, but I didn't have a chance to photograph them today, so I think I'll wait to show them off.
Our washing machine, which has been coughing away for the past several weeks finally gave up the ghost, so we had to take a trip out to the appliance store this evening. I was completely annoyed until I realized that I had spent slightly more on my last shipment of metal clay than the cost of the washer - which certainly says something about me and my priorities, but I'm not sure what. (Maybe that I need to get a less expensive hobby?)
I'm revisiting the whole floral skully theme for my last Terrorific Tuesday project. I don't actually have pierced ears, so I don't tend to make earrings all that often. However, I always like the small silver skull charms for earrings, so I thought I'd go ahead and make a pair.
The flower beads are actually leftovers from a project I did last year for Barb Switzer's book, earrings, earrings, earrings! (Softcover version). You can see the original project - a pretty, spring-themed bracelet and earring set - here. It's so easy to give these feminine pastel beads a gothic twist by adding a nice touch of black to the design (here, faceted onyx rounds). I topped it off with a couple demure dusky rose-colored pearls and my dangling skully charms.
That's it from me this year for Terrorific Tuesday! Happy Halloween, everyone!
For many years, my friend Allison has held a pumpkin carving party for her adult friends. This has always been quite a fun event, but we've missed it since the Short One was born. We thought he would be old enough to attend this year (and, in fact, we had to pry this determined little fingers from her door and stuff him in our car to get him to come home with us afterward, he had such a fun time). Before we attended, I spent some time thinking of the best way to allow him to participate with the rest of the party. While he certainly has a fascination for all of those pointy saw-edged pumpkin carving tools, we didn't think it would be all that wise to let him near them. So the above was our compromise.
Another mom at a school pumpkin carve had used some curly pipe cleaners as hair around the rim of a carved pumpkin. I thought it would be possible to take the idea further and exclusively use pipe cleaners (and those lovely, non-sharp objects - pompoms and googly eyes) to decorate the whole pumpkin. The SO glued on the eyes himself and then indicated where he wanted each of the features. I punched small holes with the carving tool and we put the features on together. Not bad, eh?
I'll have my final Terrorific Tuesday project up later tonight, but here are your bead and jewelry links for the week in the meantime:
Thanks, everyone, for your opinion on the box in a box pendant! Here's what I ended up doing with it - yep, I added the patina. I think it does make the sea glass look a little darker, but in the end I felt it was more important to add definition to the boxes. As far as the necklace is concerned, I couldn't resist my favorite pink and green color combo, with a little deep red thrown in for good measure.
It's pretty unusual for me to make a piece of jewelry just for myself - ironically, I don't wear a lot of jewelry these days - but I think I may just keep this one. It's tempting, if only to have a place to keep a photo of the Short One close to my heart!
Oh my goodness! I was completely wrong in my post yesterday - I thought I hadn't placed in the competition because some other entrants were notified over the weekend, and I hadn't had any word. To my surprise, I just received an email from Bead Magazine. "Cabinet of Curiosities" has taken First Place in the metal clay category!
On top of that, "Eye See You" - my eye pendant - has taken Second Place in the Beyond Glass handmade beads and components:
Pardon the shameless display, but I'm so surprised! I'm off to do my happy dance. Please see my previous post for more information on these pieces.
I've been keeping this piece under wraps all year, but I think I can finally go ahead and share it with you. This is "Cabinet of Curiosities", my favorite piece of 2009. It's kind of a double whammy showpiece for me.
If you've been reading my blog this year, by now this style of focal - based on the cabinet of curiosity specimen box - will be familiar to you. This piece is special, though, because - although I'm revealing it late in the year - it was actually the first one I made, way back in January. Last winter, I was contacted by Cynthia and Andrew Thornton to create a work for the gallery of Cynthia's new book (available November 1st! I can hardly wait - can you???), Enchanted Adornments: Creating Mixed-Media Jewelry with Metal, Clay, Wire, Resin & More. This invitation couldn't have come at a better time for me. I had been casually contemplating cabinets of curiosities for a few months, but hadn't really got any further with the idea. I decided to put together a piece for Cynthia's book based on this concept, and this necklace was the result.
As I continue to find my footing stylistically, my specimen box pendant has been evolving over the year. However, I still love the way this first piece turned out - it's my favorite necklace to wear. In fact, I wore it to the Bead & Button show this year. It's a little different from "Natural History" and "Natural Selection", as it is not strictly, well, natural history-based. To imbue it with an element of mythology, I included both the staring eye (which is actually a German vintage taxidermist's glass eye) and the fantastic ceramic Beastie Bead by Diane Hawkey.
I've been missing wearing the necklace this summer, as it's been off in England being judged. I found out about the inaugural British Bead Awards right before submissions closed this year. I didn't have time to make a piece specifically for the competition, but I decided to go ahead and submit my favorite necklace and my eye pendant. Both pieces made the finals but neither placed (alas).
AMENDED: I just found out - I was wrong. I received an email from Bead Magazine this morning - the piece actually took first place for metal clay!!! And "Eye See You" took second place in the beyond glass - handmade beads and components division! I've never been so happy to be wrong...
Thank you to Bead Magazine for giving me the opportunity to present my work in this first year of competition.
And thank you to Cynthia and Andrew for inviting me to participate in Cynthia's magnificent new book! Less than two weeks now - have I mentioned that I can't wait?! (Have you ordered your copy yet?)
I am an intellectual property lawyer by training and have a background in English Renaissance literature. I love science fiction. I primarily watch Sesame Street these days and find myself humming "Pop Goes the Weasel" at odd moments (guess why). I can happily eat ice cream in the middle of winter when the wind chill is 20 below 0. I have been making beads and designing jewelry since 2007.
2010 - Winner, First Place, British Bead Awards, Other Finished Bead Jewellery 2010 - Winner, Second Place, British Bead Awards, Metal Clay Jewellery 2010 - Winner, Second Place, Bead Dreams, Metal Clay
2010 - Grand Prize, Gold Medal Winner, Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, Metal Clay, Metal Beads, Wirework and Chain Jewelry-Making Contest
2010 - Finalist, Bead Star, Stones, Plastics and Designs with Heart Categories
2009 - Winner, First Place, British Bead Awards, Metal Clay
2009 - Winner, Second Place, British Bead Awards, Beyond Glass, Handmade Beads and Components
2009 - Winner, Second Place, Bead Arts Awards, Necklace
2009 - Finalist, Bead Dreams, Metal Clay
2008 - Finalist Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Beading Contest, Metal Clay
2008 - Finalist, Bead Star, Pearls
A word about copyright
As indicated in the copyright notice, the contents of this blog are copyright by me. To the extent that instructions to make jewelry, beads, knit items or other instructions are included in this blog, they are free for you to use to make the projects for personal use. They should not be used for commercial purposes, ie, to make items for resale.