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).

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Difficult Delivery

Could I have possibly taken any longer to complete this pendant? Well, probably. I guess I could have tried it with jute twine and wild hogs' teeth after I got through the rest of my stash, but I would have likely circled back around anyway to my very first instinct which was to use these wonderful, other-worldly lavender tablets by Kelley Wenzel. In sunlight, they're very distinctly lavender, but in fluorescent light they're closer to periwinkle blue. They make me think of fluorite, which does something similar (although it tends to look more green in fluorescent light).

I'm amazed at how genteel it turned out looking, just because of the floral textures I think. Overall it's fairly rustic. I tried a gazillion different "fringes" at the bottom (and wasted a lot of headpins in the process), and finally (thanks to a post by Mary Jane Dodd where she showed some tubing she had etched), it occurred to me to cut up some of the copper tubing I had (which I had purchased thinking to make tube rivets with it but I think the walls are too thick) to make tube beads. I textured them gently with my Fretz hammer. I tried a bunch of different kinds of chain on there too, and this rollo chain seemed the best match. It sort of reminds me of a long, hippie shoulder bag, of the herb-gathering (lavender, perhaps?) variety, made out of an old quilt. But posher.

Lavender Hippie Talisman

I think I rather like it long, although it would be striking worn shorter:

Well, all this discussion has given me an idea. I have to go find my wild hogs' teeth now. I know I probably have some somewhere.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Earrings Everyday

Art Bead Scene's founder, Heather Powers, is starting a new blog just for earrings, called "Earrings Everyday."  There will be 7 additional, regular contributors, including Lorelei Hill Eurto, Marie Noel Voyer-Cramp, Kristi Bowman-Gruel, Erin Prais-Hintz, Kristy Carroll Abner, and--SERIOUSLY? FOR REALS? WELL I'M SURE THERE'S BEEN SOME MISTAKE AND I'LL BE NOTIFIED SHORTLY -- Me!

I was cruising blogs recently and stopped by ABS on just the right day, and read the post about the new earring blog. I thought it was a great idea--I'm always scouting for earring inspiration. I read the invitation to submit yourself as a contributor and I thought what the heck, I'll throw my hat in the ring, and when it invariably comes to naught I can pat myself on the back for putting myself out there and continue enjoying my current level of obscurity.

But then--GET OUT--I got a convo from Heather letting me know I had been chosen as one of the new contributors. STFU!! I said to myself. (Someone else also said this to me when I told her about it. And I said USTFU! And she said LOL.) HOLY CRAP!! I said to Heather. She didn't seem to take offense. She's chill like that. (I tend to use all caps when I'm excited or incredulous.) So now I will be submitting posts twice a month with earring designs from my shop. And I have a sketchbook full of designs I've never implemented so now I'll see if they are feasible. Nothing like a deadline to help you get focused.

But now I obviously need to get a hyphen, or at least one more appellation. I'm feeling unsophisticated. Or at least some quotation marks. Keirsten "Pattycake" Giles. Keirsten "Cougar-licious" Giles. Keirsten Lee-Giles (that's my middle name, makes me feel like I'm in trouble). Or I could take a cue from the former United Nations Secretary General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali and call myself Keirsten Keirsten-Giles. Feedback?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Interim Rivet Report

My recently riveted and stamped items have had their sulfur bath and been tumbled for hours and hours. They didn't get as glossy as they usually do (WTH?) so I burnished them by hand with my new burnishing tool.

Looks wicked, doesn't it? Like a dental pick for Clydesdales.

Here is my pendant focal rivet project antiqued and ready to be tarted up:

I decided to lay a piece of 18 gauge wire in the little channel I made instead of leaving it. I wanted the back to look better so I balled the ends and hammered them before squeezing it tight on there. The wire was really soft from heating so it really clamped on there nicely. It sort of looks like a hinge to me on the front. Or some piping on a duvet cover. And now I will agonize, probably for days, over what to do with it. It will hang from three heavy gauge jump rings, and I might hang something from each one as well. Or just the middle one. Then decisions will have to be made about what to hang from the bottom. That will cause me sleepless nights. I'll have to take a pill. And then of course how to do the necklace portion. Knotting? Stringing? Wire links? Chain? Things will be assembled and disassembled. There may be weeping. It must be Triple Extra Special.

The flowers, destined for necklaces and bracelets, and the ping pong paddles for earrings:

And then my little earring bars and rings:
There will be more agonizing with these, of course. Except for the textured flower and strip above because I already know what I'm going to do with that. Of course, it might not work in which case there will be agonizing.

My boyfriend is off hunting antelope this weekend so I am a bachelorette.  This means 80s music on the stereo (New Order and Simple Minds, over and over and over and over and over again), no leg shaving, probably no bathing until tomorrow (pesky day job, they expect a certain level of hygiene), unrestrained ADD-like behavior (I'm sawing a board while I'm cooking eggs except for when I take a break to look up "gulag" in the dictionary because now that I think about it I'm not really sure what it means), tools and copper tacks in the middle of the floor (which will probably later lead to cussing), and sleeping with my 27-year-old college teddy bear (yes I'm that old). You thought I was going to say college boy, didn't you? Although that would be kind of old for a college boy. Graduate student then. Doctoral candidate.  In something interesting but economically useless like sociology. There's probably not that many of those around here since we have no university. I think I prefer my antelope hunter anyway. I don't think I could really be with someone who wears socks with sandals or has a beard. I hate beards.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My First Rivet

I set out today to anneal and texture some things. (I belatedly realized that annealing my copper items before using my brass texture sheets and hammer on them would make things a little easier on the sheets because the copper would be softer. Ah well, live and learn). As I was looking for a copper flower I had cut out, I came across a rectangle I had cut out. Not sure what I had in mind when I cut it out but I decided to try to turn it into something. You can see it here:

I was going for a two-tone texture, so I used a couple different sheets, and made a border between them. (Not sure if that is going to just stay that way or not...) Because my texture sheets are getting all curled I didn't get a good impression--they don't really work well for large items. There were some holidays here and there, especially in the lower portion. So I decided to cover them up. I had another small strip of metal lying around so I textured it with a third texture and thought, well, this would be the perfect time to attempt a rivet. So I did a trial run (with the square and rectangle in the lower right--pretty, huh?) and it worked, so I plunged in. I used copper tacks from the hardware store, so it was pretty easy. (Learned that from a Sharilyn Miller video!). I put the pretty side up and only had to hammer the back. Worked great!

I'm going to rivet the large flower to the long strip of metal just above it (with a little flattened flower beadcap added--that is in the upper right corner of the picture), and use the strip to fashion a clasp. Then I have a plan involving pearls, more copper, and Swarovski crystals. (Unusual for me to use those.) It will be a necklace.

Those things that look like ping pong paddles will hopefully be earrings--I'm going to curl over those tongues of metal sticking out and make them into a bail to hang them from. But first, the liver of sulfur and then lots of tumbling.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Can't Stay Away From Bars

I confess. Bars just suck me right in. I can't walk by a bar without stopping. When I'm working a bar I just feel so cool and sophisticated, you know? And don't tell anyone, but I have a bar in my car too. Well, actually four bars. Two matching pairs to be exact.

Wait, what?

Yes, you heard me. I'm going through my BAR phase!! Don't you just love a rich, burnished copper bar? I know I do. I was thinking "Cosmopolitan" with this one:

Cosmopolitans on a Copper Bar
But then I was in a mood for something with Blue Curacao (with a side of Won Ton--I'm all about fusion cuisine):
Blue Lagoon with Won Ton
Tonight I'm in the mood for Grand Marnier. Or maybe Tequila Sunrise. Or both. Mixed together. We'll see what happens with that...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Sea Green Addiction

Whenever I work in copper, which seems to be most of the time anymore, I seem to end up combining it with some shade of blue green--I especially love antiqued copper with pale celadon green.

I recently got my first set of charms from Kristi Bowman-Gruel of Dreamsome on Etsy--I couldn't resist the paisley hearts! I wasn't sure how I would use them, but when I started going through my beads, I really loved them with pale, transparent green. You sure don't need to do much with these charms--actually you want them to have center stage!--so I kept it fairly simple:

My pictures don't show it very well, but they have a very luxurious shine to them. Glossy!

The lady who bought them inquired whether I would be making a coordinating pendant with the focal I also bought from Kristi. Well, I certainly can, I said! It just so happened I had been recently inspired by some designs in Fanciful Devices' Etsy shop--she has some dramatic, curved, kind of yoke things I guess you could call them, such as with this piece. My style isn't so rustic, but I thought a curved portion with lampwork and what have you on it might work nicely with Kristi's pendant. I was only able to use two of the remaining lampwork I had, as the rest of the lot was irregularly sized and this needed to be symmetrical. After spending what seemed like a half hour digging in my tub of copper beads, these curved tube beads seemed to be the thing:

Hearts in the Grass

It feels sort of Egyptian to me. I would like to use this same technique with other pendants--I'm thinking maybe some of my gemstone pendants. I'm going to try something with an aqua terra jasper (sigh. sea green.) oval pendant I have if I can come up with an interesting bail. I have a "thought experiment" in the works for that.

The two pair of earrings below were a prelude to my sea green binge. The earrings directly below include some of my own beadcaps, some copper plated pewter "heart lock" charms from Monsterslayer, recycled glass from Africa via Happy Mango Beads, and some amazonite.

Heart of the Sea

These earrings below are stamped washers and glass tile beads (aqua, of course) fastened on with a bird's nest technique.

Sea Flowers
(What's with me and this "sea" thing? I don't even like water.)

This piece below is my outlier. Around this time, when I start thinking about how close winter is (blech!), I do up something with silver pearls. I made this one ALL silver.

Celtic Winter

(Those silver pearls are so hard to photograph.) Pewter pendant and pewter connector rings from Happy Mango Beads; smaller silver-plated pewter Celtic knot bead from Fusion Beads; clear quartz ovals from Fire Mountain Gems; pewter dotted cubes and "deco" cubes from Monsterslayer; and the pearls are from here and there (Ebay and local stores).

In other news, I should have a new laptop arriving next week. It's my first self-owned laptop--I had one for work once and loved it. My aged Dell desktop unit recently had a meltdown, and the replacement cheap-ass graphics card makes it painfully slow. Rather than pour more money into the old geezer I figured it was time to get a new one. I wanted a laptop so we could make better use of the space in our house (my computer desk is monstrous), and so I wouldn't have to work in the room with the blocked heat vent in the winter. (I sit on a heating pad when I'm in here. Serves me right for getting a leather chair. It's like sitting on a toilet seat.) The rest of the bulky and non-functional furniture is also going bye-bye, to be replaced with things that have accessible storage. We're going lean. If it was spring I'd probably hack all my plants back too but for now they're safe. And if winter wasn't coming I might even cut my hair short, but my neck would get cold. (I probably won't cut it short in the spring either, though, because I'd look like a Monchichi.)