Thursday, January 28, 2010
One of my Favity McFave bead makers totally hooked me up! I said "wacky chunky disks" in a an "Air Force Blue sort of color combination" and look what Heather from HMB Studios made me!!!!
Aren't these just gorgeous?! Talk about aiming high...these are so much better than I could have even figured on.
So, why do I want Air Force blue beads? Well, there's this big Air Force Charity Ball that the Air Force Officers' Wives' Club puts on in the D.C. area to benefit the Air Force Aid Society. I got the opportunity to go last year (thanks to my bud, Wayne) and it was an absolutely wonderful five-star event. Much champagne and a fantastic meal, all while wearing a sweet mess dress uniform, led to a fantastic shopping experience in the silent auction. I decided that night that I really wanted to donate a super-fantastic-fancy piece of jewelry for the next year...which is now this year. I wanted a challenge, so I figured I'd go with an Air Force blue theme, hence, the beads! I still have a little design time, thank goodness, so I can figure out the best way to show off these beauties.
Wish me luck! :)
Sunday, January 24, 2010
She first came into my life in front of the BX (that's the Base Exchange) at Aviano Air Base, in Italy, in 2003. I was feeling lonely and there she was with her family who was headed to Japan and couldn't take her. We were a perfect match! My friend, Alicia, was there and we both laugh regularly at my insane response to this family as I rambled on in a crazy-cat-lady-wannabe way that I just had to take Coco with me right then and there!
She was there for a lot of moves (six different houses!), dealt with a lot of craziness, and helped me settle into where I am now...happily married, happily beading, and loving life. :)
We spent a few years in Italy...she fell in love with the olive wood cutting boards I brought home from a trip through Tuscany. It was the strangest thing, but she would love all over them!She's saying..."uh, nice slippers, crazy cat lady...now where are the treats?"
Helping out with the beading business...by drinking out of "her" water glass on the desk...it was either that or the toilet!
This tub was a hand-me-down from her bud, Max...it was her favorite place.
Because I thought she might want someone to hang out with, I brought Frankie into the family...she looks like she really loved sharing! haaaaaaa
And then I went and got married and a new brother came to live with us...Brando. She was obviously very welcoming! haaaaaaaaa
In spite of all her wonderful Siamese-ness...she was the sweetest, cuddliest and funniest cat. I'm going to miss her dearly; it's going to be hard now that she's not here to run the house! haaaaaaaaaaaa
I like this color challenge series because it starts with simpler combinations (one color) and works towards more complex mixes (many colors). Because it's a gradual design process, I've been gradually studying color more...both in books and just by observing the world around me a little differently. For instance, warm, punchy colors permeate my home's decor...there are pinks and oranges everywhere. But, they all fall on a nice, cool, relaxing denim blue couch or a heavy, rich brown wooden dining room table. I guess that's how I design my jewelry, too...depends on the mood. Do I want punch or do I want soothing? But, then, there are so many other textural factors to think of, too, that the options are just so much fun to think about!
To help steer my color-related mind, I used a handy-dandy Border's coupon and got myself a new book: Color Index by Jim Krause. Its main audience, as far as I can tell, is print and web graphic design--there are lot of things about mixing formulas for the best screen or print results. But, to quote the author, "Simply put, use this book however you like." So, for a designer/beader/artisan/crafter, the book is great to educate on color basics (like what an analogous color scheme is) but also to trigger ideas about color combinations and how different values (lightness or darkness) can work. There are pages and pages in this little guidebook that pull combinations from the world around us...both natural and media-created. If you want to take a look at inside the book, you can go to the Jim Krause Design website and "cyber flip" through a few.
I went with the violet and blue analogous color scheme with this eclectic mix of beads. Plus, I created my own wire-worked links to add a little bit more interest to the asymmetry...
- Lovely big "mystery designer" **Bill Batts** porcelain focal with a great blue-violet finish
On the Blue Side:
- Navy glass ovals (from a bead swap with a friend)
- Blue spotted Kazuri bead (from Off the Beading Path)
- Denim blue lapis square pillows (from Potomac Bead Co.)
- Navy leather finished with sterling crimp ends (from Artbeads)
On the Violet Side:
- Dyed purple rough-cut agate nuggets
- Amethyst rectangles & nuggets (from Michael's)
- Blue-violet agate ovals
& violet simple cut stones(from Potomac Bead Co.)
- Lampwork glass disks (from HMB Studios)
Here's to the blues (and violets) on a rainy Sunday morning. :) I have to go take a nap before reading about nuclear strategy...or should I say not reading about nuclear strategy and playing with my latest bead goodies instead. haaaaaaaaaaa
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I'm so excited to go make something new! My fave things from this little package of goodness:
- crimp covers - the little "open beads" that you can use to cover up a not-so-pretty crimp and make it look like a bead
- sterling silver crimp ends - I didn't even realize Beadalon components came in sterling silver!
I'm gonna go do some more browsing on the Beadalon website to see what other neat tidbits I may need in my workshop!
So, many thanks to Margot & Beadalon for the crafty love!!!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
So, the soup wins! Check out this phenomenal set of artwork from Julie Nordine's Credit River Art Glass. It's so classy and gorgeous and textured and pretty and original and fun...I am so excited! I'm honored to be able to work with such great pieces! That focal alone...aren't you all coveting?!! haaaaaaaaaaaa
So, as Julie wrote in her post about receiving my soup, we're both in for a challenge. These lovely subdued colors are going to be a joy to work with, but certainly not something I'm used to. :) Plus, I am loving the copper! I am ready to channel my friend Jeannette Blix (another bead partier) who first started me on metal...I'm going to get my hammer out and see what happens! I'm generally a silver girl, but the richness of the beads with the copper-finished ends is just too much goodness...I have to follow that path.
Speaking of paths...I guess it's time to move towards Afghanistan and the two pages that have to be done before tomorrow morning. But, not before one more look at my goodies! haaaaaaaaaaa
Monday, January 18, 2010
No matter what your craft or your need for shop, click on the button below to check out the variety of goodies. They're listing new items constantly as donations come in. You'll see some of my polymer clay there soon!
And, to share a quote from a recent Craft Hope post that I really liked:
“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” — Nelson Henderson
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Julie got her package of Jen Judd goodies...so we're on! Plus, look at that teaser of pretties!!! I can't wait!!!
Cheers to all Bead Soup Partygoers!!!! :)
Saturday, January 16, 2010
I've been thinking about this challenge for a couple of weeks and this idea came to me during a lecture on Joint Operational Planning. Yes, while learning about how to come up with war plans, I was sketching jewelry. I guess that's how I tie my two worlds together...part of operational art is learning how to think outside the box. So, my very military-looking pink notebook has a great combination of ideas! haaaaaaaaaaa
My interpretation focuses on the shadows and the branches with the idea of a solo piece holding court in the midst of it all. I used some silver-toned craft wire to create a branch with lots of texture and shape that frames the solo Bronwen Heilman glass feature. If you're familiar with her work, this doesn't seem like her norm, but it's one of a few freeform, smooth, lovely glass disks that I got last year (or maybe even the year before) at Beadfest in Philadelphia. I love the juxtaposition of the smooth bead with the texture of the wire...sort of like the warm sun on the cold snow in the painting.
The view of the plaza from our room...playing with the exposure to turn the bright lights into lovely hearts (or upside-down butts) :)
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I recently picked up "Bead & Wire Jewelry: Exposed" which is a design book featuring Beadalon & Swarovski products. I've never been a huge consumer of either, but I think Margot Potter is wonderful and she teamed up with Fernando DaSilva and Katie Hacker for this book. So, I figured there has to be something neat to learn. I was a bit surprised by all the exposed elements like crimps and wire, but then, uh, I read the title again....haaaaaaaaaa. Nice. Exposed.
One of the coolest little components I noticed while perusing these projects were the Beadalon crimp ends. I use big sterling silver crimp ends all the time to finish off leather, but they're usually expensive so I never would've thought about using them on plain old beading wire. These little non-sterling smaller (cheaper) options looked like a great idea! So, after a quick trip to Michael's (with a coupon, of course) I had two different sizes of these crimp-able ends in my hands. Since I was in prep mode for an earring class, that's what I went for...a little bit of shiny beading wire, some of my fave HMB Studios glass disks, a couple of little silver spacers all combined with the crimp end to make a sweet little earring. I can see endless possibilities with these considering all the fun colored and textured beading wire out there. Plus, just think of all those pretty beads that need to be showpieces all by themselves!! haaaaaaa
p.s. I'm not being paid to endorse any products. (Although I certainly wouldn't mind! haaaaaaaaa)
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
The greatest email was waiting in my inbox this morning from Julie Nordine, of Credit River Art Glass. She's my Party partner. :) What does that mean? She's going to send me beads to work with and I'll send her a set of goodies from my collection...then, we take those sets and work them into something spectacular. Not only is she a fantastic lampwork bead artist, she's an Air Force girl, too! Well, she grew up with an Air Force dad and that certainly counts. :) She has a great gallery on her website: Julie Nordine - Credit River Glass that you should definitely check out. Here's just one sample of her work...
Isn't it seriously gorgeous? She says her bead style is "fairly organic.... in a strong, exaggerated & stylized sort of way." Anything that's strong, exaggerated & stylized sounds great to me! She's writing to the bead-blog world from Minnesota on her Credit River Art Glass blog and there are more great pictures and stories.
So, great to meet you, Julie! And best wishes to all the others at the Party!
Monday, January 11, 2010
The challenge I'm talking about this time I found on the Beads of Clay blog. It's going to require a little bit of practice thinking about the color wheel in different ways with new combinations of colors every couple of weeks. I own at least six books on color (buried in my crafty-book bookcase) but find myself drawn to the same color palettes most of the time. My brother, an artist, once told me that color is all about "trippin' out the rods and cones." That always cracks me up, in an eyeball-anatomy-nerd sort of way. :)
The other cool thing about these challenge projects is that they're focused on clay beads--that's earthen clay like porcelain, stoneware, earthenware, terra cotta, or raku--rather than polymer clay, which is what I've worked with before. There are tons of great clay artists out there so not only do I get to think outside my normal boxy workspace, I get to shop for some great new beads! haaaaaaaaa
Since I was in the monochromatic groove, I decided to do another piece--this one turned into a set of earrings. The denim blue porcelain charms that are central to the design came from Marsha Neal. I strung a variety of blues on beading wire and used a Beadalong crimp end, that has a little ring on it, to finish it off. This creates a perfect link to an earring wire.
If you're up for some color challenge or just want to see some pretty work, check out the Beads of Clay blog. :)
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
- starting another semester of my Air Force school with a whole new "home room" of folks to meet.
- dealing with a spoiled cat who is driving me batty with a capital P.
- missing my husband after a fantastic two weeks together over the holidays.
- trying to lose a few pounds, just because it's that time of year and I have a few pounds that could use some losing.
...but, most importantly, I picked up a copy of the Winter 2009 Issue of Stringing and am so happy to see a familiar big, bold piece on the cover!
One of the coolest things about this cover is that I found the hardcopy of the magazine at one of the bead shops I visited while in Kansas City visiting my husband's family. It was a wonderful treat to find it while shopping with my sister-in-law, Kim. I'm so proud, and the design brings back such wonderful memories from my July 2009...including my pretty engagement ring. I was all about the big sparkle that week and it certainly shows in my choice of stones.
So, here's to all of you, my bead blog friends, on the start of a fantastic new year. Looking forward to sharing inspiration, lessons, and just plain old good times with all of you!