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).

Monday, May 30, 2011

Who Put a Quarter in Me?

Because I was weirdly productive this weekend. I made two pendants, finished a fish necklace, made an experimental bracelet (see below) and a pair of earrings to go with a pendant from last week. That's got to be some kind of record for me. (It's a good thing I'm not trying to pay the bills with this or I'd be in a refrigerator box with a McDonald's gift certificate from the Methodist church clutched in my grubby hand. And when I wasn't in my refrigerator box I'd be at the library talking to myself. And thinking, "What's that smell?")

I wanted to show you my experimental bracelet. The last couple weeks I've been itching to try a bangle bracelet, or a least a modified one, in two parts. I thought it would be a fun way to use up my awesome lampwork stash. (At first I did it up with these really rustic looking ceramic beads from Michael's, but after I got it partway together I thought the beads were just not durable enough for a bracelet and I took it apart and started over. They seemed about as durable as malted milk balls. You get what you pay for, right? Damn. Now I want malted milk balls.) At first I though I might be defeated by my lack of a steel bracelet mandrel to hammer it on, but then I spied the neighbor's steel fence pole and I was in business. I ran out with my hammer and shaped the underside piece of my bracelet on the pole. It was very clangy. They're hollow and they make a terrific racket. I think I might need my own piece of steel pipe. Time to go shopping at the hardware store!! (Or sneaking around at night at a Department of Transportation construction site.)

I decided to start with some wonderful sunset-colored (like an LSD sunset) beads from BeingBeads, by my friend Pat (who lives like 15 miles away!! how lucky am I?).
Into the LSD Sunset
Of course it cried out for copper.

At first I attached the underbar (that's my word that I just right now made up) directly to the top piece with large jump rings, but it didn't really fit right. Part of the problem was that the underbar wasn't long enough. I thought I would have to start over with a longer underbar. But then I thought, maybe what it really needed was to be sort of hinged on the sides, to make it easier to put on. So then I put a connector ring in between on the one side, which ended up balancing out the short bit of chain on the other side. Et voila! I think it would work the other way too, with a longer underbar.
They look like CANDIES, don't they? Strawberry, boysenberry, watermelon, grape...
I totally did not measure, I just started making stuff. Thinking about math makes my mind hurt. (Although I impressed the heck out of myself by actually WRITING DOWN the dimensions when I was done. So unlike me.) That's the beauty of copper: Doesn't fit? Ugly? Doesn't work? Eh. Toss it in the "to-be-taken-to-the-recycling-center-in-10-years-when-I-have-enough-scrap-to make-it-worth-the-gas-to-drive-it-over-there-Box." (Of course someday soon some asshole speculators will start buying up all the copper in the world and it will be $100 an ounce (but that would probably only be because the dollar had fallen to a value of 12 cents...) and we'll have to switch to string made out of recycled grocery bags. It will make annoying crinkling sounds when you wear it. Your cat will steal it and play with it under the bed while you are trying to sleep. ALL NIGHT. (And then promptly retire to the basement to sleep all day once you are off to work.)).

I'm so excited by this new thing I am already losing interest in my button thing. But I have all these new buttons coming from Hong Kong, Israel, Canada and Singapore so I have to just soldier on and do both. What I think is totally cool is that I can make UNDERBARS in the car. Well, if I can find some steel pipe. (I'm still feeling too cheap to buy a mandrel.)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mad for Toggles

I'm rediscovering my lentil and tablet beads with this front-closure toggle design. It's sort of an easy bail to make! My bail making skills are very rudimentary, and the toggle bar adds interest to the focal.
Toast and Sagebrush Pendant
I made this one with one of my toasty textured tablets by Mary Ann Carroll--it's a very warm looking bead, with its warm toast colors, and its pebbled texture makes me feel warm (makes me think of ostrich hide, and ostriches come from Africa, and Africa is warm...) It also has some sage green mixed in--green like sagebrush, and sagebrush grows in desert climates, which are warm...(Yes, there is a theme here; we got new snow today on the ski hill, so I am thinking of warm places. I do that a lot. All year round in fact.)
Then I did another similar pendant. I really like to squeeze all I can out of a design.

After I finished the pendant below, I thought I should name it, and by golly if it didn't remind me a lot of Monet's "Water Lilies." It was the dollops of sky blue on the dark green background that made me think of lily pads. I went to look at the painting online, and the name seemed apt. I had even gotten some lilac in there too (there's a little spot of violet at the top of the focal).
Water Lilies

The large lentil focal and the bigger roundel are by Karen Hardy. Unfortunately her Etsy shop is empty. :-( The smaller roundel is by BeingBeads (I was thrilled how well they all went together!) The round beads include moss agate, teal-dyed quartz, and Czech glass in lilac. Copper plated pewter charm and freshwater pearls hang from the focal. Monet wasn't Irish, but it works for me. It's all "wet" colors, and Ireland is wet. So one dry pendant and one wet pendant. I try to be inclusive because I'm all about diversity.

Well, I suppose I should go to bed. There's nothing else to do.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Little Fishies

Water, water, water, everywhere water! That must be why I'm thinking of fish. And bright fish in tropical colors at that! It's a bit dreary here in the mountains right now, so this must be a spot of self-help therapy. I'm dreaming of warm tropical waters and sunny colors...
Here I've entertained myself with a cheerful little tableau of three whimsical glazed ceramic fish buttons (by MuddyMuse on Etsy), navigating their way through a sea of glass and gemstone "bubbles" in fresh, summery (I'm guessing here, "summer" exists for me on a purely theoretical plane) greens and blues. I've attached them all to a solid copper base via hand-forged headpins in a random pattern, and used short lengths of silk ribbon in "faded denim" by Flamekissedartglass to attach the focal to copper rollo chain.
Happy Little Fishies
The wonderful little sage green lampwork spacers are by Pinocean, and the larger spacer in periwinkle blue is by Studiorent. (I also recently found another lampwork spacer shop on Etsy, TheSpacerQueen --loads of colors, both opaque and transparent, all about 5x8mm each, perfectly freakishly uniform. Quick shipping and great prices. Check her out!). Other beads here include denim lapis, some seed beads in matte powder blue and lime green, little matte blue glass discs from Happy Mango, fancy jasper and one lonely moss agate.

OK, time for me to go take some Vitamin D and sit under a light bulb. I'm starting to look like Gollum.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I just love tablet beads. I'm particularly fond of these big glazed ceramic tablets by Mary Ann Carroll. These are in a dusky sand color, with a center of vivid crimson and tangerine, ringed with a rich greenish blue. The pendant below started out as a bracelet, which I decided was way too busy, so I took it apart and started over.  I thought simpler was better, and I thought it might work better, with its built-in toggle ring, as a pendant:

The Fiery Eye

(I added the toggle ring myself). I love how the porcelain warms against the skin when you wear it. It's like a worry stone, and something about that fiery center is comforting. I added some carnelian, poppy jasper, dyed quartz, and a little rice pearl to echo the colors:

On Sunday I finished the piece below. It's sort a talisman too--the kind of talisman that makes you think of chocolate chip mint ice cream. Now every time I look in my shop I want chocolate chip mint ice cream. In fact I'm wanting it right now.

Chocolate Chip Mint
My model, Alfre, is telling me to go to the store after work and buy some chocolate chip mint ice cream. You don't argue with Alfre.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Button Fever

And I am Patient Zero. It is spread visually, so look at the following pictures at your own risk.

The fever was at its peak on Friday afternoon, and I was delirious. In an idle moment I did a search for "wooden buttons" on Etsy and the following things ended up in my cart:

Owl Eye Buttons
Round "hump" button
Small wood button
Flower buttons

(Yes there's more.)
Square in circle buttons
Monkey eye buttons (a propos, no?)
Double curve buttons
Funny eye buttons (I didn't name these).
All of the above from Shop4Craft on Etsy.

Shall we continue?
Rosewood Color Flowers
Stacked squares

Wavy Japanese style buttons
Plain buttons
The last four are from Lyanwood on Etsy.

As far as I can tell, more of all of these buttons are available in these shops. I tried to put links on all the captions for you but halfway through that process Blogger decided that the URL for the photo was the caption link and I could not, in fact, have any other link. POS.

I think I've hit my picture limit so I won't show you the mother of pearl buttons I got (later). These buttons above were all fantastically affordable so I bought LOTS. (You want to spread around the shipping costs you know.) (But now I'm seeing I should have got more lighter color buttons--good thing they have those). Unfortunately one of the sellers is from Hong Kong and the other is from Singapore, so I have to WAIT to get them. Shop4craft even convoed me to let me know that when I ordered them on Friday it was currently the weekend there so they wouldn't ship until the following Monday. How's THAT for on-top-of-it customer service? Most excellent.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


No, not sappy teen vampire love, ACTUAL twilight. You know, crepuscule. Eventide. Gloaming. Dusk. (Sorry, been hitting thesaurus.com a little too hard). That's what this bracelet makes me think of--those very last moments of a summer day, when only a molten thread of crimson sunlight remains, and the sky above goes smoky violet and plum. Only lasts a moment. I could live in that moment for a long, long time.

Deep Twilight
These little earrings sort of go with it:
Deep Twilight Earrings
 On another note, I added these to the shop the other day:
The Land of the Rising Sun Meets the Emerald Isle
And these, a variation on my "Mexican Food Earrings":
South of the Border
And a slightly different pair of "lantern" earrings:
Garden Lanterns
My right leg has fallen asleep so I think I'll call it good. Good night!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Favorite Things

I love this stoneware button by Beadfreaky--I have three more and can't wait to use them! LOVE the colors--cinnamon and oatmeal! I went crazy and combined it with beads in my other favorite colors--cayenne, cafe au lait, nutmeg, pumpkin pie, saffron, mustard, persimmon...And a little bit of cinnamon silk ribbon.
Tree of Life

Makes me want to be a readhead.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Recycled Glass and Sophia the Hand Model

A new novel by Tom Robbins.

Ha ha. Not really.

It's what I did this weekend. I turned this (the white one)

into this
I call her "Sophia." My inspiration was Sophia Loren. I mixed up craft paint in raw sienna, avacado, and white. And then I gave her a french manicure.

And then the rest of the time I was trying to finish this set below--I wanted to list them together, in case somebody wanted a whole set. I started it middle of last week actually, but then I ran out of copper bowls and beadcaps, and Sophia wasn't ready yet for her debut. Finally it all came together today. Phew. And I even got my magazine submission out the door yesterday. Now I actually feel like resting!

Here is the necklace:

 Modeled by the lovely Alfre:

And the bracelet:
Modeled by the lovely Sophia:

And the earrings:

Sophia will definitely come in handy when I start making rings. I bought a tute on making dangle rings, and a steel ring mandrel. I have so many little roundels and pearls and tiny gemstones, I thought it would be a fun way to use them up. I could even make them in the car!!!

Recycled glass from Happy Mango Beads; coffee-colored howlite (luuuurrrve that) from Eightjewelry on Etsy; Red creek jasper from Soulfireartisan on Etsy; Green turquoise from Fire Mountain Gems (and some locally).