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).

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Buttonator (that's Button-ator, not Butt-O-Nator)

That's me. Or perhaps, the Disc-o-nator. (I missed disco by about 5 years, but I did see "Thank God It's Friday" about 12 times. I had a Donna Summer album. And Saturday Night Fever. I still occasionally listen to the BeeGees but "Nights on Broadway" makes me cry too much and I have to turn it off. I know, I'm not right.)

You might recall I used these BlueSeraphim raku lampwork discs on my protoype necklace for my Button-ator technique.

Well, I have now used them in a bracelet. (That was always my plan--and then earrings. Not there yet).

Aren't the colors amazing? I'm so inspired by these beads.

The other beads here are: navy blue Mykonos ceramic washers (from LindenAvenueDesigns), purple aventurine, green turquoise, ivory and brown bone spacers, and one little cobalt blue glass bead I got from my "junk" container. Antique gold plated pewter daisies and modified beadcaps. I used a rising sun stamp on the bigger one. Four strands of super soft cocoa leather cord from LeatherCordUSA.

Tada. That's it, that's all I got. OK time for PIZZA!!!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Is in the Air...Somewhere! (Not Here.)

And that idea inspired me to dig into my new Happy Mango Beads stash! Plus feeling lots better after being laid low by a mystery bug. Getting back to the gym has helped with muscle pain and fatigue--gotta love endorphins!

I put this bracelet together with my new technique, using Indonesian lampwork discs from Happy Mango in olive-lime, lilac and vanilla. I accented those with little charoite roundels from Lima Beads, glass seed beads in lime, and a bunch of little copper bowls (a/k/a upside down copper beadcaps). White greek leather from Magpie Gemstones completes the bracelet, fastening to a hand-forged toggle bar.

I was totally beside myself with dopey glee when I created a flat headpin the other day--It was a spontaneous thought, figured it wouldn't work. "Gee, I wonder if I could make my own flat headpins from my ball headpins?" So I put a ball headpin tail down in the vice, tightened it up, and tap-tap-tapped on it until it was flat. They look like chubby little nails. Love them!!!

I just love the swirls in the ivory and lilac beads:
"Spring Around the Corner and Then Way Down the Road" Bracelet
I'm getting foolish collecting more lampwork discs from various Etsy sellers. I can't stay away from Outwest and Alisha White's shops! I also loaded up on some spacers from TheSpacerQueen that I thought would coordinate with my discs. I think those spacers will be perfect little buttons for pieces like this. She has oodles of colors!!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

An Experiment

I just finished a necklace for a customer who previously bought a pendant--she wanted a shorter necklace in the same materials she could wear layered with the longer pendant. She asked if there could perhaps be a detachable pendant on it so she could also wear it alone. Here is the original pendant she bought:

I looked through my stash of stuff and just didn't have a commercial pendant that was going to work. I really wanted to do another flower, because the original pendant had a flower. I thought the flower should be in copper though. So I fished out my jeweler's saw and cut out my first flower shape. This had been on my to-do list--in fact, I had already drawn some flowers on my copper sheet, intending to (one day) cut them out and do something with them. I wanted to pin a bunch of them in different sizes to one of my metal bases like I've been doing. But instead my first one became a little pendant.

Here's what I eventually came up with:

I hung a little copper flower charm along with the pendant, just for fun. I LOVE these little flower charms (got them from Magpie Gemstones) but they were too small to use alone. I antiqued it a little and tumbled it to make it match the rest of the copper. For the pendant portion, after I cut out my flower shape and cleaned up the edges with my Dremel and some fine sandpaper, I marked the striations with a sharp wood chisel. After antiquing and tumbling it, I domed it a little and then bent the petals back a little. I had previously flattened out some commercial beadcaps (in a previous spontaneous experiment--"Hmm, I wonder if..."), so I pinned one to the center of my pendant. I attached the whole thing with a ball headpin to a snake-shaped copper base that had a loop at the top. The flower spins freely. I attached the pendant and the charm via a couple little jump rings to one of my toggle bars, so it could be attached to the center of the three connector rings and removed at will. I added some copper chain to the pearl portions so it would be weighted evenly. Et voila!

I think I'm over my trepidation about cutting out flowers. I cut circles around them first as close as I could with a pair of left curve metal shears and that saved a lot of work. (If you're left-handed you can do it with right curve metal shears--they come both ways). I also prefer the shears for plain circles, rather than sawing. I have to clean up the edges with a Dremel, but I'd rather Dremel than saw. It's a power tool thing. But I've not used the shears on anything heavier than 20 gauge sheet--probably wouldn't work very well on 18 gauge.

So that's what I did this weekend. I've been dragging myself around for the past month, sick as a dog, and finally got some antibiotics. I think I'm getting better, so back to the grindstone.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I've Been Featured!

The wonderfully inspired and talented Libby Leuchtman at LibbyLeu glass has featured me on her blog! She is going to be doing regular blog posts about other artists whose work she connects with. I stopped by her blog when I was doing the Bead Soup blog hop and was knocked out by her new "onion dome" focal beads (I visited Moscow once, and Red Square, and was really wowed by the cathedral architecture in the Kremlin complex--her photo of St. Basil's really took me back!), and then I was totally floored by her podlettes when I visited her Etsy shop.

Copper Green Podlette Pair
Are those not the sweetest little things? Mysterious and graceful! Lori Anderson did a gorgeous bracelet with them by the way, check out the podlettes in action!!

And these gorgeous amber ones:

"Red Roof Tile Podlettes"

From Libby's Etsy profile and shop announcement:

"My name is Libby Leuchtman and I have been making glass beads for 13 yrs and designing jewelry for 20 years. All my beads are handmade by me and kiln annealed.

"I have always loved art and started out as a muralist. About 13 years ago I saw an artist at a show that had handmade glass beads. I signed up for a class two weeks later, and the rest is history. I founded the St. Louis Lampworkers Society, St. Louis Bead Society and I am a member of ISGB and the Torchworking Director at Third Degree Glass Factory www.stlglass.com. My beads have been collected for the Kobe Glass Art Museum, and appeared in several books. I have been teaching glass beadmaking for 8 years."
She also makes larger pod focals, also breathtaking and utterly unique!

Kalypso Frit Pod

Stop by and visit Libby at one of the links above!