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).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Don't Forget to Stop by for the "Challenge of Color" Blog Hop!

Starting December 3 at Erin Prais-Hintz' blog, see creations by numerous jewelry artists based on paint chip color palettes!
Don't forget to check it out!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Coupla New Things and a SALE!!

I made these earrings over the weekend.

Glazed ceramic hearts in speckled turquoise with copper.
Kyanite flowers with antiqued copper.
I finished my "Color Challenge" pieces based on the paint chips Erin Prais-Hintz sent me, but I can't share them with you until December 3. Bah. I've done two, I'm trying to find a way to make myself love the third paint chip. Haven't found it yet but I'm determined.

Lastly, my entire shop will be on sale at 20% off from midnight November 24 through 11:00 p.m. November 29 for Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Come take advantage of me!!! I'll be out of town for the holiday, though, from November 24 until Sunday, November 28, and I'll probably be completely fried from driving 9 hours (in a mostly straight line, without ever leaving the state; how 'bout that?) so I won't get any sale items in the mail until probably Monday or Tuesday.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Name is Keirsten and I'm a Tutaholic

It all started, I think, with Barb Lewis' "Painting with Fire" tutorial. The instant gratification (I wish ALL online purchases could be emailed), the new (largely theoretical) vistas opening up...After that it was Shannon LeVart's "Color Drenched Metal" and "Hand Formed Links." And that softened me up pretty good for the next email I got from Eni Oken Jewelry Lessons--by now I had an unquenchable thirst for tutorials, even if I wasn't even going to do them (indeed, I have no immediate plans to do enamel, I just wanted the tut)--and I stumbled headlong into the Jewelry Lessons site like a broke drunk who just found a fiver on the sidewalk stumbles into a liquor store and started snapping up whatever I could find that seemed remotely do-able.

Well, that's maybe an overstatement, I bought two. I bought one on making wire-wrapped briolette flowers, because I was so inspired by Melissa Meman's gorgeous flower earrings but couldn't figure out how to do it (I don't have the engineering gene), and one on how to make little calla lily-shaped beadcaps out of thin metal sheet. (And then of course I had to buy the metal sheet). And somewhere in there I also acquired a tut on making kidney earwires from Natalie Girard, a Canadian jewelry artist on AtrFire. I've wanted to do those too but didn't have the patience to figure it out on my own. Sometimes I just like to be spoon-fed. Especially about measuring things.

So this was my fourth (or fifth?) attempt at the briolette flower. (I was a little alarmed with attempt no. 3 because I seemed to be getting WORSE with practice, but I stopped and thought about where I was going wrong and kept trying). I've had these kyanite spears FOREVER, they were one of the first things I bought when I started making jewelry but they didn't fit into my initial designs and I didn't know what to do with them after that.

This one below is also using the briolette wrapping technique (mine is still kind of messy, can't figure out how Melissa gets hers so perfect! Have to keep experimenting. I got a little wild with the one below and forgot where I was at with the over and under). Little sea opal drops and rounds, with copper rollo chain, and some great tiny ladder chain in antiqued copper. I can't remember where I got either chain--it was either Ornamentea or Lima Beads.

I'm pretty excited, this means I will have a way to use all those top drilled teardrop beads I keep buying but don't know what to do with. I have PILES of such beads so you will be seeing lots and lots of flowers. I may open a second shop called "All Flowers, Every Day, All Day Long."

This last thing didn't require any new tuts at all, just knots. A casually-shaped cube of boro lampwork glass by Bebesglassbeads on Etsy in "Ocean and Sand" hangs from cold-forged copper rings and a strand of knotted matte denim glass beads, with a few amber glass beads thrown in to tie into the lampwork. Front closure toggle clasp with hand-forged toggle bar.

Well, that's all I got. I got through about half my to-do list this weekend. And oh, gee, it looks like I didn't get to the icky stuff. Golly darnit anyhow.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Phobic No More

Nothing like some custom work, with the color palette dictated to you, to help you overcome a little temporary, inexplicable phobia about making stuff. I was practically paralyzed for at least the last few months, filled with dread at the thought of making anything original. So I made components instead. Beadcaps and connector rings. Got lots of those now. And of course I continued buying all manner of supplies I was too anxiety-ridden to use. Those who can't do, shop.

So, this is one of three pieces that seemed to get me over my weird little hurdle. I'm doing a large custom bridal order (5 bridesmaids, a best lady, two moms, two flower girls, and the bride).  This is the first of the bridesmaids' pendants, which will all be a little different.
Black Labradorite (also known as Larvikite) and Czech Fire Polished Glass.

Her colors are pewter gray and dark apple red (cool, huh?) I wanted to use a few different pendant shapes, and took a spin to the next town to a bead shop to see what they had. Nada. But they did have some awesome moukaite roundels with lots of mauve and pink in them (which I had been casually looking for here and there), so I picked up a strand of those and ended up making this:

Moukaite roundels with baby garnets and brass leaf medallion from Ghana.

I was originally going to have the garnets hanging as a second strand, and then put some leather on it or something, but then the strand of garnets accidentally flipped up as I was working on it and I thought that looked even better, having the strand of garnets form the top part of the necklace. So i took it apart and did that instead. I would have preferred not to add those little rose matte glass beads, but the beading wire wouldn't fit back through the itty bitty holes in the itty bitty garnets and I couldn't find anything more suitable to finish the ends off with. I do have an electric bead reamer but I was afraid the garnets would break if I tried to make the holes bigger. I think it's all right like that. (Brass leaf medallion from Happy Mango Beads.)

I had these little pearls and beadcaps sitting around for awhile, wanted to make earrings. This is them, all grown up:
(Anybody have any hints for achieving a consistently plump, non-dented ball headpin? To quench or not to quench? Too hot? Not hot enough?) Tried a little bigger, rounder earwire with these.

Got these little millefiori eggs over the summer at a bead sale, not really my style but I like the way they turned out with these funky little ruffled flower beadcaps and antiqued earwires:
I hammered the headpins a little on these since they were sort of deformed anyway.

I made a bracelet too but I don't like it so I'm not going to show you. Probably cut it up and redo it.

I started on this other thing, but it's not quite right. Once I decide on this one element it'll go together pretty fast and I'll show it to you. Maybe by the end of the week.

That's all I got. Time to go hang with my Squeeze. Peace out.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Four Questions

I recently received a blog comment that I had been linked to a post on another blog, Honey from the Bee, the blog of the delightful Janet Bocciardi. I clicked on the link and found I'd been tagged to answer four questions. I adore talking about myself, so I was thrilled, and it also introduced me to three blogs that she'd tagged that I wasn't familiar with. It's a way for me and you to discover something about four bloggers I admire as well, if I can come up with some clever and interesting questions of my own. If you like, if you are one of the four bloggers named below, you can answer my questions on your blog, and in turn choose four bloggers to pose your own four questions to.

Janet Bocciardi (Honey from the Bee) asked these Four Questions:
  1. If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you want to see and/or experience?  I would like to go to Greece (although maybe not right now), and the Greek islands.  I would love to see all those cool historical sites that remain from the heyday of Ancient Greece (and before! like the Minoans)--what a phenomenal culture, and how much we owe to them for our ideas on government, mathematics, philosophy, science, etc. I would love to see the Aegean, and the whitewashed villages, and the sun. I miss the sun. We don't have that here. And I would love to experience authentic Greek cuisine. Every. Single. Day. I ADORE Greek food and Mediterranean food in general. I could eat it every day. I would eat falafel for breakfast if I knew how to make it right. And lunch and dinner. With tzatziki and pita. With a side of stuffed grape leaves. And some olives.
  2. What is your favorite craft tool and why?  I would have to say my basic chasing hammer; it echos my interpersonal style. And you can turn metal wire into cool stuff with it.
  3. White or dark meat?  White. Unless it's Blair Underwood.
  4. What do you wish you invented? An utterly foolproof method to make absolutely convincing counterfeit money.
Now, four questions of my own:
  1. Tell me one big thing in your life that you had the opportunity to do, but didn't, and always wished you had.
  2. What is the most favorite outfit (clothes) you ever had? Of your whole life? Describe it to me in detail (sequins, fairy wings, go-go boots and all).
  3. What is your favorite thing about yourself? It can be an ability, a learned skill, a character quality or a personality trait. Or maybe it's your hair.
  4. If you had all the time in the world, every day, to devote to some completely frivolous but wickedly fun pursuit, what would it be?

And hopefully answered by:
Melissa Meman of Melissa Meman Design
Leslie Zabel of Bei Mondi Jewelry
Beryl Morago of Beryl Street Crafts
Lori Anderson of Lori Anderson Designs