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).

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Who's Not Afraid of Blue? That Would Be Me!

I'm doing aversion/desensitization therapy. With blue. Eye-popping cobalt blue!! I was pretty gleeful when the cobalt glass tile beads I got from Fire Mountain matched the pendant (that I got at the craft store) exactly. It HAD to be matchy! And then I had this strand of opalescent blue discs from Happy Mango that I have never used (but perversely bought in spite of my blue thing) and they matched too!!! I knotted it onto navy silk beading cord, with some nifty bead tips ("Hot Tips") I got from Fire Mountain. They look like little embossed leaves.

The pendant here is pictured on my model, "Ivory", with a gorgeous sarong given to me by a very generous customer. Can't wait to wear it when the water gets above 70 degrees!

Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm a Born Slacker, Baby

Goodness, I haven't run my mouth on here in 11 days. I've been giving myself permission, daily, to do nothing terribly productive. Spent the weekend on Flathead Lake (our usual summer haunt) camping on picturesque islands with friends, rafting up with a slew of buddies on their boats, and watching large men catch fish. Forgot my camera. You'll just have to take my word for it. The water is still 58 degrees which is below my swimming threshold (by about 17 degrees), but lovely to look at. Unearthly vivid blues and greens, like chrysocolla...OK, I'll stop taunting you. Not really fair without photos. I'll take my camera next time.

I did do this the other day though. I quite like how it turned out.
I used my new pewter crimp ends from Fusion Beads--LOVE them! So easy and has a nice finished look. 

I am so into this turquoise/brown/cream thing! Fortunately I acquired a surreal amount of stuff in those colors so I should be churning out this palette for quite some time. This one features a huge roundel of turquoise (not magnesite, this is the real deal), coupla big wood wheels, coupla burnt horn rounds, and some glossy bone rounds too. Nickel beadcaps made by moi. And more of that fabulous cocoa deerskin lacing from Magpie Gemstones. Horn and wood from Beads and Pieces, bone beads from Happy Mango Beads.

I also did this, with my new strand of rainbow soochow jade and my second order of pink jasper nuggets. Love this with the dark brown brass.

I did these little earrings to go with them. I belatedly noticed, as I was uploading the photos to Etsy, that they look like little pink boobies. Hope nobody notices.

Well, that's all for now. I do have to tell you that I just now (literally, like 20 seconds ago) remembered the brass beadcaps I had steeping in ammonia fumes. I went and got them out and they are JET BLACK and glossy! Wow!! Not what I was going for but how cool is that? You're probably going to see a bunch of goth stuff on here now. Just in time for the 4th of July.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thank you Jana!

Jana of Be-Jeweled by Jana just awarded me with the "Kreativ Blogger" award! Thank you Jana! (Stop by and visit her! She makes lovely wire crochet jewelry.) I think I got another award once before but I didn't know what to do with it. Jana has thoughtfully posted the instructions on her blog.

Here are the rules for the award:

1. Post the award on my blog
2. Thank the person who gave me the award
3. Link the person who gave me this award
4. Share 7 things that you probably don't know about me
5. Choose 7 great bloggers to give the award to
6. Share a link to their blogs
7. Leave a comment on their blog
Seven things you probably don't know about me:
  1. I loathe mornings. I find that as I get older I can't stay up very late anymore either so my days are rapidly shrinking. Definitely an evening owl.
  2. I love the smell of fingernail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, varnish, paint thinner and gasoline. And rubber cement, probably because it smells like gasoline.
  3. I've been to South Africa 8 or 9 times (Gorgeous and charming place and people). Couple times to Zimbabwe. Once or twice to Swaziland. Had killer vacations in Egypt and Ireland. Spent part of a summer in Japan. Had a few vacations in Holland (LOVE Holland).
  4. I used to speak French, Spanish and German. Not so much now. It's all mostly gone.
  5. I can convincingly mimic pretty much any accent.
  6. I was in a play once, I played the Shelby character in Steel Magnolias.
  7. At one time I had the International Code of Signal Flags memorized, thanks to flashcards I made myself. I found it was not a system of communications I used very much (primarily because I had no actual flags and lived deeply inland) so I eventually forgot about it.
I would like to bequeath this award to the following bloggers:

1. Kelley's Bead Studio -- Kelley is a very talented lampwork bead artist (I own many of her beads and LOVE them), and I love all the videos she posts of her process, and her frequent asides about animals (both pets and the uninvited), and kids.
2. Miss Fickle Media -- Shannon does phenomenal things with metal patinas! I love her humor, her passion for her art, and her posts about the joy she finds in her family.
3. Silver Parrot -- what can I say? Laugh-out-loud funny (do not read while imbibing a beverage), adventures in resin, the perils and joys of motherhood, and lots of bead porn. KJ rocks!
4. Hint -- Love the Zen-like simplicity of Beth's blog, her pithy musings on being human, and her periodic tutorials--super helpful for both the mind and the artist!
5. Maire Dodd -- Mary Jane's jewelry designs are exquisite and wonderfully unique, always infused with heart, soul and spirituality, with a gem to ponder in every post.
6. Put a Little Magic in Your Life -- I really enjoy Renate's posts about her flea market finds (the anvil! the hammers!), photos of the gorgeous work she is doing with metal and resin, and pictures of her home and travels.
7. Diva Designs -- Lynda does things with polymer clay I have never seen anyone do before (maybe I'm just sheltered). She is, as far as I am concerned, the "Queen of Fauxtiquities". Her beads and focals are both convincing facsimiles of everything she puts her hand to (leather, metal, amber, jade, jet, ivory...), as well as deliciously exotic and absolutely gorgeous. I love visiting her blog to see her new creations.

Stop by and check all these ladies out! You'll be glad you did!

Monday, June 7, 2010

More Casualness

Ivory raku lampwork by Blue Seraphim on Etsy, wood wheels, Czech glass roundels in a green lumi finish, hamdmade nickel beadcaps, silver plated beads and spacers, tiny matte cocoa brown seed beads, and antique-silver-plated ladder chain from Lima Beads. So casual you could practically pass out in your bean bag chair. Right there in your sweat pants. And your dirty hair. In front of the tube. Just hangin'.

To get your cas on, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Leather: The Path to Casualness

Plowing through more of my stash of lampwork--these again by BeingBeads in an amber and blue granite pattern. I wanted to do something a little more casual and rustic-feeling, so I got myself in the mood with some deerskin lace in cocoa from Magpie Gems. I started out with some very lightly oxidized brass beadcaps, but they added too much glitter to it and just weren't giving me the rustic feeling I wanted. So instead I used the same beadcaps, but deeply oxidized in ammonia fumes to a dark bronze. I added more of my teal quartz (wish I had bought four strands instead of two...), a little wood, and some nifty fluted dark brass tube beads I got locally. The connectors are the ring halves of some little brass toggle clasps. I wrapped the leather ends in oxidized brass wire and finished it off with a hand-formed brass S-clasp. It's about 19" long.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Snakeskin: The New Neutral

So much lampwork gathering dust on my work table (I'm phobic about using it in a piece that just doesn't measure up)...these little "snakeskin" gems by BeingBeads on Etsy have been keeping Kelley's "Azure Islands" beads company for the last several months. But I've plucked up my courage and by golly, those lampwork beads are going places. I decided to use them in some simpler necklaces, rather than putting them in multi-stranded coronation neckpieces with glittering gem-encrusted breastplates. This was as simple as I allowed myself to get. (But I have more! I'm thinking of using leather as a way to force myself into casualness.)

This wonderful lampwork is by Pat Redinger of BeingBeads on Etsy. It's combined with teal blue quartz, yellow turquoise (in olive green), wood, and Delica seed beads in a fabulous gray-lined light amber. Hand-formed, hammered brass beadcaps.

The rest of my lampwork beads have targets on their little glassy heads. Pretty excited about the boatload of glass tile beads and heavier gauge silk thread I just got from Fire Mountain, and all the seed beads I've been collecting from Fusion Beads--time to conquer my fear of both casual/simple AND blue and get busy. I'm going to be very knotty again this weekend.

Kelley's Beads: Azure Islands

These beads by Kelley Wenzel have been sitting on my work table since February. I kept looking at them, wanting so badly to do something with them, but I just didn't have the right accompaniments for them.

I finally found the right counterpoint: BONE. Yeah, that's right. Big, fat bone beads. Just look at them. A nice warm ivory, like white sand beaches...so right with the pale Caribbean blue of the lampwork. A little blue opalite, some blush-hued golden jade roundels, and more BONE!!! Bone tubes. They're from Africa, so maybe it's wildebeest bone, kudu (lesser or greater), or maybe eland. Maybe even okapi. Or maybe steenbok. The dik-dik and klipspringer are probably too small. Lotta goats in Africa. Maybe it's goat bone. "Goat bone" has a real ring to it.

The photos don't do the lampwork justice--there's a surprising amount of blush pink in the beads, hence the peachy-pink golden jade. Perfect with a Mai Tai.

This item is sold.