A chronicle of the meanderings, false starts (which in retrospect, while sort of embarrassing turned out to be highly instructive), epiphanies, selective apathy (still evolving), wild mood swings, opinions (subject to frequent change), and life lessons of an inveterate dabbler (and her latest dabblings).

Saturday, November 28, 2009

More Art Exchange Booty!

Just when I thought that was all she wrote, ANOTHER PACKAGE! This time from Traci Patena. She was all mysterious not enclosing a business card or anything but I Googled her and found her Etsy shop. And her blog. You can hide, but you can't...hide.

She sent me some nifty old-fashioned sort of Currier and Ives style Christmas coasters:

Now I have to buy eggnog--and rum--so I can use them. And some nice furniture. (Coasters are a bit laughable at our house).

She has some ultra cool stuff in her shop. Check this out, happy retro coasters!:

These are business card holders featuring Amy Butler papers:

These are "matchbook albums". I have no idea what you do with them (put your really tiny pictures in them?) but they're cute:

Check out Traci's shop and her blog!

Thanks Traci!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Little New Stuff, and an Identity Crisis

I have added a few new bracelets to my shops. I mean necklaces. I mean bracelets. OK, wait--one bracelet, one necklace, and two others which are both. Or either. But not at the same time.

I wanted to call this one--of course, how trite--Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, or Your Smoke Is Getting in My Eyes, or That Smoke Is Bothering My Eyes, but I figured Google Base would flag me as trying to sell cigarettes to little kids so I settled for It's Really Smoky in Here. "Smoky" seems to slip past the censors.

You can wear it as a bracelet, or attach the coordinating extender chain and it becomes a necklace that sits in the hollow of your throat. Most of the beads are glass, the smaller smooth rounds are smoky quartz. The brass chain is hand forged, both the eyepin extender chain and the modified "money" chain that forms the base of the bracelet section. CLICK HERE for more information.

Same story with this one, which I called "Early Autumn" (which seemed a little less prosaic than "Red Yellow and Green Bracelet"):

It features apple jade, which apparently is also known as soochow jade (thanks KJ), pistachio and sage button pearls, some dark red glass beads I cannibalized from some of my own jewelry, a few copper beads and lots of copper wire. Same money chain as above. CLICK HERE for more information.

Then I got off the fence and made this bracelet that really is just a bracelet. Although I guess if you really wanted to wear it as a necklace you could. You could attach a paper clip chain to it, or a shoelace, or your favorite silver chain and just go for it. But I chose to just let it be...The larger green roundels are serpentine (I was thrilled to find a couple on the strand that had some turquoise tones in them), the smaller are apple green howlite, and the remaining turquoise beads are Czech pressed glass in a Picasso finish. CLICK HERE for more information.

And finally this necklace is...just a necklace. I'm sort of stuck on this turquoise/lime green thing. I love this magnesite I got at the bead show (what a great alternative to turquoise for us tight wads), and I just can't use enough of this howlite. It was a loooong strand so you're going to see a lot of it. CLICK HERE for more information about this item.

And here it is on my lovely model, Ivory:

I like Ivory's collar bones, but her color is getting me down. I mean, is anybody really that color? Usually?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Scored Big

Sandra at Marbella Jewelry Designs invited me a couple weeks ago to do an Art Exchange. It was sort of chain-letter-style, rather than draw-names-style. I was a little skeptical because of the chain letter thing, but I thought for heavens sake don't be such an old woman (sorry, old women everywhere, about the stereotype thing). What's the worst that could happen.

Well I have to say I rather hit the jackpot--not in terms of quantity, but quality. And I discovered two new artists!

I received these lovely sodalite and sterling silver earrings from Tammy Easterling--she has an Etsy shop, Tammy's Treasure Chest, and a blog. Her jewelry is GORGEOUS. She is a metalworker--ha! I scored jewelry from a metalworker!! She made the little ball headpins on these earrings herself, of course. (This is my first project for when I get my torch. And when I have money for fine silver wire. I think I will start out with something I will call "blob headpins").

Check out these other earrings (I've hearted them in her shop)--aren't they FABULOUS? So delicate and ethereal. For more info or to purchase from Tammy's Etsy shop, CLICK HERE.

And look at these (I'm leaving like a dozen out that are AMAZING):

I ADORE sunstone. And aren't these the coolest earwires? To see this in Tammy's shop, CLICK HERE.

And as if that weren't enough, I also received a fabulous, OOAK matted photograph from Julie Magers Soulen, a professional photographer (ha! scored an art photograph from a professional photographer!!! I LOVE photography! I must have been less bad than I thought...) She didn't enclose a business card, but I tracked her down anyway. You've been stalked, Julie. You can visit her Etsy shop, or her blog. The photograph she sent me is of little butter yellow crocus peeping through a layer of spring snow--the photograph is entitled "Spring." The image is no longer available for sale so I landed an exclusive item! I know just where I'm going to hang it! I sort of can't share it with you because that would involve photographing it and I don't think that would work out very well. With Julie's permission, I share some of my favorite photos from her shop below:

Gorgeous, no? Makes me want to build an addition to my house so I can have more wall space. But it would probably be cheaper to take down all my Leif Garrett and Shaun Cassidy posters, they're kind of faded now anyway. I just can't quite bear it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bringin' Out the Girls

No, not THOSE girls. THESE girls:

Ebony and Ivory, my new jewelry models. Aren't they pretty? (although I wish they were people-colored). Look just like me, except without heads and arms. Or a backside. And the boobs are about four inches higher than mine.

It's a nice, nearly matte plastic finish. I didn't want shiny. I do so wish they were less literally black and white though, and more people-colored. Anybody know a good paint, one you can mix, for plastic? I doubt Krylon spray paint comes in Western European and African American.

I was going to get a very nice cloth covered one, but that would have been about $100 all told. I might still one day. But these were only $5.95 apiece, figured I'd give them a shot. I love that they have collar bones! And that little hollow at your throat. Of course they'll be modestly, but chicly (is that a word?) clothed.

If they don't work out, they'd be great for a chip bowl at a Superbowl party.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I've Been Featured!

I'm the featured artist today at Notes from the Handmade Highway! Check out my interview where I bare my soul and share the secrets of my success. I mean my secret success. The secrets of my secret success. It's so secret even I don't know about it.

Notes from the Handmade Highway is a blog developed by Lori (sorry Lori--I don't know your last name!) of Risky Beads, devoted to showcasing various handmade artisans around the globe, and providing a venue for buyers, artisans and fans of handmade to find each other. The blog includes a directory of artisans, with special notes about who does wholesale, who does custom, who wants to do giveaways, etc. Lori regularly posts interviews of new artisans so the Highway's followers can get to know them. Today was my turn! Thanks Lori! (I'm a big fan of Risky Beads--LOVE the Three Bean Salad Bracelet. I was doing the groupie thing today getting all happy when I got a convo from RISKY BEADS!!!) Check it out and hitch a ride!

I just love the spotlight.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

You're Going to Laugh, Lorelei

OK, Lorelei asked me how I set up my light box. Normally I prefer to use daylight, but there isn't any anymore where I live. Not until May. Just kidding. I'm just never home during daylight hours, and even then, the weather is often so dreary it's too dark indoors to take pictures, and the light is a bad color outside. And it's cold. So here is what I do.

The base of my light box is a translucent storage tub from WalMart. A big one. I cut a hole in the bottom for my camera lens, and flip it upside down over my jewelry display. (This is for straight down pictures, like the one in my last post.

Then I drape it with thin white towels, like flour sack towels. I got four of them at the Dollar Store. For a dollar.

Then I position my full-spectrum daylight bulbs (60 watts) wherever--lately I kind of like the light coming from the side, but you can do it any way you want. Just experiment. I've tried all kinds of bulbs, and the "full spectrum" ones seem to have the best color--i.e., they don't distort the color of the item/background as bad as other bulbs. Usually. Sometimes it changes depending on the angle of the bulbs. Go figure. Physics I guess. I seem to get the least color distortion when I use them on the sides.

For angled pictures, I put the tub on its side and position my item as pictured. Of course you need a tripod of some sort for these pictures.

I'm kind of liking the side-lit pictures. I've been laying the lamps on the floor actually. Kind of turns out all mysterious and dreamy.

This one was side-lit and I like the results:

So there you have it. Including the lamps, you should be able to do this for under $35. You probably already have lamps you can use. You could probably forgo the towels if you have a more opaque tub. I've heard some people use styrofoam coolers but I've never tried that. I've used the tub without towels but the light is a bit harsh and the seams in the tub tend to cast funny light patterns on stuff.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Something Fishy

This bonefish pendant is one of the many nifty pewter pendants I got from Happy Mango Beads. Been wanting to use it for a long time, but I was just waiting for the right beads. I was thinking maybe kyanite, but then I saw these petal-shaped Czech pressed glass in a pond-like green and they immediately made me think of fish fins. Found I had some rounds in the same color/finish, and then stumbled across some roundels as well. Realized I had matching freshwater button pearls, and voila! The first bonefish ever found in a pond. The kyanite would have been more ocean-like and appropriate probably, but I was just so taken with these mysterious beads. They make me think of deep, hidden woodland ponds and Ophelia and the Lady of the Lake and moss and wood sprites. I love how this photo turned out--looks like an oil painting to me. Not sure how that happened. I didn't do anything special with it. Slate, plastic tub draped with flour sack towels, and full spectrum light bulbs.

For more information or to purchase, CLICK HERE.