Sunday, August 30, 2009

A "Blog" Party...

I'm in the mood for celebrating just about anything these days, what with the wedding and all. :)

I referenced my friend and teacher, Jeanette, in a post a couple of days ago and now I've found out that she's hosting a giveaway party on her blog, so I wanted to spread the word!

Go check out Jeanette's Blog and see all her amazing tools and fun projects!! I learned my very first wireworking bits from her. She had a pair of fantastic earrings on the cover of Step by Step Wire and I'm proud to say I had that class before her design became famous!!

I may not be as crazy about wire as she is, but she definitely started me down a path of exploration and coiling and twisting and fun...

Where'd you get that awesome bracelet??

Bracelets are some of my favorite projects. For the attention deficit designer, seven inches is just about enough! haaaaaaaaaaa

My lovely friend, Monica, posted this great picture on-line last week and then laughed when I didn't immediately notice the AWESOME bracelet she has on!! I love it!! One of my seven-inch wonders has made it primetime! Or, at least onto a great facebook account.
So, I figure it's about time to post some bracelets for sale in my Etsy shop...you can click on the link over on the right-hand side of my Jen Judd Rocks page and check them out in more detail!!
I love the combinations of colors and all those great beads that I just can't seem to live without!!

Go shopping and enjoy!! One of my bracelets would be perfect with some outfit you have...right?? haaaaaaaaa

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Something Old...

for my WEDDING!!! haaaaaaaaa

Yes, my sweetie and I had an appointment at the Montgomery magistrate's office this week to make it official. I'm a wife!! And, I'm so excited!!!! We'll have a nice, big celebration for all our family and friends in 2011 when he gets back from deployment. But, for our initial pairing, we kept it small with a couple of friends from our old office as witnesses because they've watched our love affair develop among the cubicles from the very beginning!
But, since this blog is supposed to be focus on craftiness, I'm going to spare you all the dramatic pictures (even though I have to have a few of them because that's what new brides do) and chat about my sweet little earrings!

I didn't really borrow anything and there wasn't anything blue about the day but the gorgeous sky, but I really wanted to include a little something in my jewelry that was special so I went with old. I made up these pretties using some antique glass pearls that came from my Grammy Hine. I've had these in my collection to use for a special occasion and figured this is just about as special as it gets!


I used a kidney-bean shaped wire that I learned how to make from Jeanette Ryan, way back when in one of my earliest wire-working classes. I've always loved the design and how I could add a few little twists and swirls and make it different. Then, it was easy to balance out the design with these oldie goodies. I'm so glad I was able to make that connection to the ladies of my family for this special day!

Funny enough, my friend, Tara, who was there to witness the purely Alabama wedding, was wearing very similar earrings featuring a kidney shape and a pearl. So, I was actually in style abeen in style and didn't even know it!

So, while I'll keep rocking the world from the Jen Judd perspective...I'm signing off for today...Mrs. Jennifer Judd-Velasquez!!!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Featured Artist Sweepstakes...passing the word

There's a supply website out there...House of Gems...that's looking for a few good featured artists:

Do you do a happy dance when you come across a gemstone you don't already own?
Do you find that every conversation you have comes back to your latest jewelry project?
Do you love to help other people on their projects by giving tips or showing them step-by-step how to do things?

If you answered to yes to any of these questions, we may have the perfect opportunity for you. If you answered yes to all three, then consider this destiny. House of Gems is looking for Featured Artists to spotlight and promote on our website. In addition to the opportunity to present yourself as an artist, you will also generate traffic to your personal blog, Etsy store or social media profile.

Artists may also be given opportunities to test new products, receive additional discounts and be the first to be informed of new releases.

Grand Prize (1): $1000 Shopping Spree on HouseofGems.com
Runners Up (1): $500 Shopping Spree on HouseofGems.com
Consolation Prize (5): $100 Shopping Spree on HouseofGems.com

Timeline: Contest runs July 18th, 2009 thru August 15th, 2009


Submissions: Contestants upload a maximum of 5 original jewelry designs to the House of Gems Flickr "Featured Artists" group http://www.flickr.com/groups/featuredartists/. Any and all design types and styles are welcome.

After School Special

I just finished my first week of classes at Air Command and Staff College. There's a ton I could say about the fun folks in my seminar or the wide variety of topics we're discussing, but I'm too focused on my after-school time at the moment.

Way back when, the long walk home from Bedford Primary School seemed to take forever because I was looking forward to all those important after-school things...

- Getting a snack...or just yelling for mom to find something in the pantry where there was absolutely nothing to eat! haaaaaaaaaa
- Calling my friend...who I just left at her door one minute ago on the way home but who I had to update with something
- Doing some homework...which usually had to wait until after CHiPs
- Watching CHiPs...while on the phone with my friend, who lived a block away, discussing each detail of our imaginary lives married to Ponch and John
- Planning my next slumber party...that would require a tent to sleep outside, if we were lucky.
- Playing...outside running around or riding our bikes was the preferred method, but we could make some seriously good messes in the house.

So, now, many years later (could my 20 year reunion possibly be coming up this year??) I'm back to a schoolgirl's lifestyle with my classes in the morning and a whole afternoon to do whatever I want! Sadly, the homework and the trip to the gym are higher on the priorty list now, but I'm thrilled to find that there's lots of time for play!!!

Amidst my books of joint military doctrine and international studies--which are all thrilling reading--I have a new copy of Ancient Modern by Ronna Sarvas Weltman. For those folks who aren't bead nerds, it's a gorgeous book featuring polymer clay and wire jewelry. There are fantastic pictures that demonstrate her techniques and her amazing use of color and texture and all the potential in a little block of clay!

The good student would probably read the book from cover to cover and focus on the instruction and methods. I took the Jen Judd approach and flipped through the pages in an hour or so, got really wound up about creating, and busted out my polymer clay supplies and tools!! I had the dining room transformed into a workshop in minutes! Oh, and I used it as an excuse to explore my new Michael's and get some new clay--can't live without black and white for some effect...that's a little influence from Ronna's book. haaaaaaaaaa

I kept my options limited in size and shape, otherwise I'd be there at the table all night. So, after three hours of playing around and experimenting, I ended up with a huge ball of ugly grey-brown clay as the result of some color blending forays! haaaaaaaa I spared you the picture of those.

I also ended up with these great colorful pieces! I played with color blends, spiral canes, pasta-machine-rolled designs, and just plain old rolling things around and seeing what happens!! I put them all in the little oven to cure and still had time for my snack and my homework! Mind you, the snack has to be Weight-Watcher friendly and the homework is 80 or so pages of reading--no CHiPs for me!!! haaaaaaaa

I'd like to dedicate this post my wonderful friend, Brandee, who took Ponch and let me be married to John. haaaaaaaaa

Monday, August 10, 2009

Voluptuous Waves

For the August Challenge at the Art Bead Scene the inspiration artwork is The inspiration for this month's challenge is a beautiful woodcut print, Kanagawa oki nami ura (Great Wave off of Kanagawa) by Hokusai Katsushiki.

This flows with my thoughts from last week of Hawaiian beaches and sandy pleasures. So, in a similar style of last week's leanish piece, I focused on the art bead focal of a lovely voluptuous woman by beadfreaky. After delving into the ocean of my bead stash I came up with some other great beads and bits to complement this lady...lampwork glass disks by HMB Studios, some faux beach glass that's actually lightweight resin, a couple of Kazuri beads and a handmade African paper bead, plus there are two other lampwork glass beads that I got ages ago on Ebay and can't for the life of me remember who the artists are...but they're perfect for this project! Another glittering glass ring from Sonoran Beads adds some class to the clasp when combined with a handmade silver hook.

The combination of all these pieces along with some knotted leather makes a great organic statement. The power of the waves are demonstrated here in the power of the female form in all its curvy glory!
I love the final look's balanced asymmetry; its combination of cool and warm organic hues; and the fun mix of beads that I could pull from my collection!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Long and Lean-ish

There's a weird smell in the air here around Maxwell, so every time I drive through the gate, and I get a whiff of that familiar scent, I'm immediately transported back to my Officer Training School days and I remember the crazy stress, the great friends, and my fanatical working out. Life has changed since then. Well, I still have some odd stressors; I still have fantastic friends, but my working out is far from fanatical. haaaaaaaaa

So, I'm getting back in the swing of things and hitting the gym! Why is this important to my bead world? Because now all my thinking is about lean and mean! As I sit here drinking coffee (with only Splenda and no cream...not my fave, but less Weight Watcher points) I'm thinking about this design that floated out of my brain last night. It's much longer and leaner than my usual big chunky designs. Could it be I'm actually thinking skinnier even in my subconscious! That's hilarious!



I wanted to focus on summer casual because the heat is a bit stifling here and there was a back to school function at the elementary school down the street which means summer's almost over! Plus, it's nice to think about the gorgeous beaches of Hawaii. I fondly remember the breezes and and the drinks and the sand and the cool, clear water...and, of course, the great bead shop. haaaaaaaa I came up with a combination of semi-precious stones, glass, and shell into a bunch. But, instead of making a big, wide piece, as is my habit, I saw a gorgeous Sonoran glass circle and immediately thought of a clasp that would be front and center. I whipped up a quick silver hook to work with it and, hoila!
I put it on immediately and even with pajamas, it's slim but still exciting. I love it!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Having a Strategy

"Strategy is the art of connecting aspirations with prudent plans and finite resources."

That's from something I read today for our first lesson. Did I have a strategy for my day? Was I limited in hours? Did I make prudent plans? Well, I didn't take a nap, so that was a good thing!

I sat down to bead tonight and considered the fact that I very infrequently have an actual strategy to my work sessions. Maybe that would help me be more productive? So, now I'm thinking of aspirations, plans, and resources.

What am I looking for in a beading project? I really like just spending time thinking about something that isn't part of my everyday rigamarole. When I'm thinking about color mixing, I'm not thinking about dieting, which is a wonderful thing! I also want an end product that I think is unique, gorgeous and fun while at the same time potentially pleasing to someone else who might be willing to spend money to have it in her collection. I'm aspiring towards learning new techniques, appreciating my pretty beads, and creating something.

The plan? I guess this could be anything from what will I do with this two hours at my table tonight to how will I prepare for my next show to where my business will grow in the coming years. Keeping it at the micro level, considering my last to hours, I actually had a plan to work with yellow. That's what I thought about all day, for some reason, so that's what I pulled out. I knew I wanted to make a necklace, but got wound up with all my beads that have been in storage for weeks! So, focus is a part of sticking to the plan, I guess! haaaaaaaa Here's the partial "plan" that I had working out on the table:

Who doesn't have limited resources? I don't think of it so much as just monetary business investment capability, but also my time. I only have a few hours a week to devote to most projects, so how does that play into my creative strategy? If I set out a schedule for myself, with goals for timing, that would probably help. Plus, I can't be afraid of making mistakes and wasting time or basic materials. That's how I learn my best lessons! Luckily, tonight wasn't an "ugly stuff" lesson night. I'm very pleased with this golden-hued mix of semi-precious stones, lampworked glass, Kazuri, shell, & clay.

I love it! And, there's still plenty of work left on the table to continue on to tomorrow...that's the plan, anyway! haaaaaaaaaaaa

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Adventure's Beginning

I'm finally ready to sit down and get to beading in my new workshop! I'm so thrilled with how the lighting and workspace worked out. Plus, I had cable set up in there so I can watch HGTV reruns into oblivion!!

But, I have to be honest, I haven't been at the helm of this new space yet. For the last two weeks I've been on leave from the Air Force, in the midst of a major life transition not only from Virginia to Alabama but also from single to nearly-married. I've had the chance to spend plenty of time in my own mind and searching for inspiration from my new surroundings, which aren't in the same city as my fiance, by the by. :) One of my favorite places here in Montgomery is Blount Park, by the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. I've been walking and walking and walking trying to get my behind in shape while releasing the stress of working for five years in the Pentagon. It was a great tour there in Virginia--which led to some great jewelry--but I'm certainly ready for something new.

So, while I'm getting ready to start my first day of school tomorrow, I'm also getting ready to get back to my creative endeavors with just as much energy! Air power doctrine and the study of war will be one big part of my life, but I also hope to use new scenery and people as inspiration for fun new projects. War and beads? haaaaaaaaa Whatever works!

I've got a few projects waiting for me on the table along with a list of requests from Virginia to finish, but I feel like the fresh atmosphere in my new place, my new city, and my new outlook on the Air Force are going to help take these to the next level! I can see plenty of sterling squiggles to work with and I can't wait to make more. There are some fantastic recycled glass beads by Heather at HMB Studios that I'm looking forward to working with, too! Oooh and there are some totally fun crazy lace agate beads that I just couldn't live with out, apparently!

The first bit to finish, though, is a really cool, chaotic bunch of green, purple and blue beads that I have gathered on some green leather. I have to finish this one off and it will be a great addition to my summer jewelry wardrobe! Oh, or maybe to yours...I'm supposed to sell some of this stuff, right? haaaaaaaaa

I'm ready to start this adventure...hope you'll be here to keep me company!

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About Me

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Charleston, SC, United States
I'm a retiree/artist/student who makes things. It's a nice kind of lifestyle!

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