Monday, May 30, 2011

I Wove America

Happy Memorial Day
from one of my sweetie nephews, Austin.
He and his big brother, Liam, and his almost-there new baby brother celebrated simply with sunshine and a picnic...a reminder of "wove" for family and country.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hearting Macro in Asheville

Yes, I'm on vacation, but I also have my camera with me.  I took a stroll by the Grovewood Gallery yesterday after getting a little gym time in (so we don't feel guilty about "vacation" eating) and there's a great sculpture garden.  For my macro shot this week I'm sharing a couple of detail shots of Bea Girl by Dale Rogers.

And here's a shot of the entire piece that I got from the Grovewood Gallery Page:
I have lots more of Asheville to share but have to get back to vacation for now!
studio waterstone

Friday, May 27, 2011

Revealing Fun...on the Artisan Clay Design Team

I showed off a little bit of what I was planning back on Bead Table Wednesday, well it's Friday and that's reveal day.  That means I was up waaay early this morning getting my designs all finished and photographed.  Today is my first day of vacation...we've been planning a getaway to Asheville, NC for months!  Spa...mountains...sleeping in the car...heaven!  haaaaaaaa


Anyway, back to bead business.  Before we can take off I want to show off these pretties because I think they're going to get a lot of wear this weekend.  I'm so thankful that Kristie asked me to be a part of the Artisan Clay design team...helps me be more creative while working with awesome pieces.  This month there are little charms that are a lovely rich green and turquoise.  Kristie wrote a post about them this week on her blog and talked about how much she loves this size and wanted to see how other people would use them.  I tried to keep that in mind with my designs and see what I could come up with.


First off is this piece with a mixed focal and green leather:
I had a blast pulling blues and greens from my stash to mix up with this.  The glass spree and  teardrop headpin are from Genea.  I pulled a few random seed beads and copper wire and chain scraps together with this wooden bar to create a sort of asymmetrical bouquet.
Since I had a pair of Kristie's sweet charms and about 20 minutes before my creative time was up this morning I decided on a quick, simple design that really puts the charm front and center:
Bracelet-sized memory wire strung with some tubing, seed beads and a perfectly coordinated "turtle" turquoise round creates a frame for the pendant and still keeps it simple!  I strung the whole thing on a ready-made leather choker so it was super-easy.  I think this one might turn into a little tutorial since you could really make one up for an outfit before heading out the door!
So, thanks again to Kristie for sharing the goodies...and there are other designs out there for this big Friday reveal so head over to the Artisan Clay blog for links! I have to get ready for a road trip!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

BTW - Working with Art Beads

It's Bead Table Wednesday, so time to share what I have out on my bead table this week.  Since my AF job has become nearly overwhelming I've had scarce time to actually sit and create so this photo is from a few nights ago...the table hasn't changed, though, since then.


First off, a little play with Artisan Clay pendants for this month's design team.  They're lovely rich green and turquoise so I've been having fun matching things with them.  Kristie wrote a post about them this week on her blog.  I'm mixing them with some lampworked glass from Genea...those little striped sprees and some striped glass headpins.  She's getting ready to move her whole household so decided to have a little sale this week in her Etsy shop...if you're not a "bead" person and you're in the mood for jewelry, some of her original designs are on sale, too.
Artisan Clay Design Team...in work
Here's another view of the table...more art beads in the line up.  There are some Barbara Lewis enameled  beads over there on the right piled up with some of Juls' lampworked glass.  I think it's funny how the orange bead selection all got moved to the back of the table.  I was working on a piece inspired by Marcie's Margie & Me inspiration for the month but got frustrated with the simple stringing design I was trying.  So, moved it all over and got into the green!
Orange on the side
And the next color in line is blue to match up with some more Artisan Clay charms.  I pulled out lampworked hollow glass beads from Kay Bolden.  She's a local artist from Poquoson so I get my beads from my local bead shop but she has an Etsy shop, too.  The little turquoise & raku bits are from Maryse Thillens of GlassBeadArt.  There is a little set of lampworked rounds in there from SueBeads, too!  I recently reported to my husband that I've slimmed down my bead purchases...I realize this doesn't look like it, but there are all beads that I've gotten over months and months...nothing from May!  haaaaaaaaaa
More on the blue
The rest of my beady friends have laid bare their own bead tables for this regular Wednesday update and you can see them in the BTW flickr group!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Barbara's Big Book Bead Giveaway Celebration

A few weeks ago when I was up in Philly for Bead Fest Wire I had one of the best days ever sitting in the Painting with Fire workshop by Barbara Lewis and her torching & training team/family.  I was a little scared to go bigger than my little butane torch so a little MAP gas tank was overwhelming at first...but, after a few hours there in front of it spinning my own enameled goodness, I was in love!  I now have the torch at home, have only burned one whole in the carpet, and am scheduled for another class with Barbara in July.


Enough about that...this post is about one of Barbara's big successes and a giveaway she's offering on her blog to help celebrate.  Her brand new book called "Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry: A Workshop in Painting with Fire" just got listed for pre-orders on Amazon!  I can't even imagine the thrill of seeing all that hard work out there for anyone to see.
And here are the beads you can win--picture these in any color you love!  Check out Barbara's blog for more details.
Plus, be ready for later on when the book's released...I'm going to be a part of a design team working with some of the projects and techniques in the book to really show off the drama!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Focaccia continued...the recipe!

I got a few comments about how luscious and yummy the bread looked yesterday so I asked mom for the recipe to share.  She was happy to pass it along but I have to give credit to Chef Matt Finarelli.  Ma has taken a few classes from him back in Bedford, but he also teaches in the DC area and I know there are a lot of my bloggity buds and friends who are from up around there.  


I just checked out his website and blog called "Deglazed." There are lots of other recipes and opportunities for classes.  I googled a bit and came up with the Pentagon City Sur la Table where Chef Matt has a series of what look like awesome yummy classes...there are a bunch in June on barbecue.  Now I can't stop thinking about barbecue AND focaccia.  Good grief I'm hungry!
So, as I promised in the title line...here's the recipe!



Focaccia with Onion, Sage and Salt
Matt Finarelli
(adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, Marcella Hazen, Alfred A. Knopf, 1993)
For the Dough:
1 package active, dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water – divided
5 1/2 cups bread flour – divided
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs salt
For the Baking
A large 16” x 12” jellyroll pan or a baking stone
Cornmeal
Mixture of ¼ cup olive oil, 2 Tbs water and 1 tsp salt
For the Topping
2 Tbs olive oil
2 onions, sliced thinly
3 – 4 tbs fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tsp coarse salt
  1. Proof the yeast with ½ cup of lukewarm water and a large dash of sugar.
  2. Combine yeast with 1 cup of the flour in a large bowl, then stir in the 2 Tbs of olive oil and the 1 Tbs of salt
  3. Add ¾ cup water and 2 cups flour and mix together.  Add remaining ¾ cup water and approximately 2cups of flour – maybe more to make dough manageable.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few times to bring all the pieces together.  Then knead for about 5 minutes by slapping down the dough on the counter repeatedly to make a long tube of dough extending away from you.  Roll the dough up, pressing down as you go, turn the dough ¼ turn and repeat the “slapping and rolling” process. Continue until dough is elastic.
  5. Place dough in a large, clean bowl. Coat lightly with olive oil and let dough rise until it is doubled in size.
  6. Punch dough down, knead for about 30 seconds and spread out flat on jellyroll pan dusted with cornmeal or on baking stone paddle dusted with cornmeal.
  7. If using a baking stone, begin preheating oven to 450º with stone inside at this point. Cover dough with a moist towel and let rise for 45 minutes. 
  8. During this second rising, make topping by sautéing onions in olive oil until lightly golden.  Set aside until rising is complete.
  9. If you are not using a baking stone, preheat oven to 450º at this point.
  10. When second rising is complete, remove moist towel, and while keeping your fingers stiff, poke down into the dough, making little hollows all over the surface of the dough.
  11. Brush on the olive oil/water/salt mixture over the dough, filling in all the little hollows you made with your fingers, and brush around the sides as well.
  12. Top the focaccia with onions, chopped sage leaves and coarse salt and place in oven.
  13. After the focaccia has been baking for 15 minutes on baking stone or in jelly roll pan, check to see if the bread is cooking evenly.  If it is browning more on one side, turn it in the oven. Bake for an additional 7 – 8 minutes until outside crust is golden brown. (total cooking time: 22 – 23 minutes)
  14. Serve warm of at room temperature the same day. It you want to keep it longer, focaccia freezes very well.
Hope you enjoy as much as I do...enjoy the smell and warmth of herbs and salt and delicious bread.  I'm sooooo hungry!  haaaaaaaaaaa

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hearting Macro

..and hearting my mom's focaccia bread.
I couldn't decide what to focus on today...pun intended.  I have a sweet kitty face, lots of new art bead earrings, some lovely woven textures from back at Art & Soul...but, in the interests of my efforts to lose weight, I'm focusing on food.  haaaaaaaaaaa  When I go home and visit, my mom is usually up before dawn baking or cooking or prepping to cook something.  That's just the way she works.  So, I get to smell this bread baking with the caramelized onions and all as I'm rolling over and wondering if I should get up yet.  Normally I do because I know she'll cut off a little corner for sampling even though it's officially a part of dinner later that day. 
Curt calls it "onion loaf" which makes me laugh every time I think of it..."focaccia" versus "loaf"...you decide. 

Thanks to Lori Waterstone and the rest of the "macro" crowd...you can see more if you click here:

studio waterstone

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Squiggly Posts

Oooooh, tried something new!  Squiggles as earring posts!!  There's a lot of emphasis out in my blogging world about making unique findings like clasps and earwires.  I'm on the bandwagon, officially.  Here's one of two pairs I finished up and put in my Etsy shop...



I used 20g sterling silver so they're nice and light and the posts are comfortable.


I'm off to try a few more variations!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Art Bead Scene: Beads 2011 Giveaway

I have to post about this giveaway because I want another chance to win it, but I don't necessarily want anyone else to join it because I am seriously coveting the big prize and don't want to decrease my chances...what a dilemma!  haaaaaaaaaaa  


The Art Bead Scene editor, Ms. Erin Prais-Hintz, has gathered bits and baubles from tons of artists and businesses featured in the recently released Beads 2011 and is having a huge giveaway!


I have a copy of this issue sitting right here in my living room and the corners are dog-eared because I spent a lot of time looking for my friends and favorite artists who I've met through blogging in there.  Luckily I found a ton of them who I already buy from on a regular basis....
Suebeads is Sue Kennedy from Pittsburgh.  Since she's a fellow Pennsylvania girl, we've gotten to know each other with lots of bead sharing and tips, ideas, and inspiration.
- Shaterra Clay Studio has some luscious pieces and she actually just put a bunch of new goodies in her Etsy shop.  (I have to make a little note here because I just almost cramped up laughing...I put "shaterra.blogspot.com" into my navigating line and when the results came up the post at the top said, "I'm looking for cartoon characters having sex." Apparently this wasn't Sharleen's blog! haaaaaaaaaaaa)
- Summers Studio ceramics are always lovely...and really show off her style.
- Heather from Humblebeads showed off her latest components...she's been adding new things to her polymer clay line like crazy!
- Elaine Ray beads are a fave of mine...I tend to hoard them, though, rather than use them.


I know this isn't a complete list, but I have to go to work eventually.  I was there until almost midnight trying to analyze data and figure out how the Air Force's civilian hiring controls are going to affect all of our units.  With about 10K positions out there and just about as many civilians filling them, it was a bit of a challenge.  Gotta get back to it!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Daycation in Colonial Williamsburg

Curt was here over the weekend and we had a great time together.  It's fun to just sit on the couch next to each other and chill out, eat cookies (Cooking light recipe, of course), and chat about life.  Since we spend time together so infrequently, it's always nice when we can just relax and enjoy without stressing out about things.  We both do that enough when we're not together!  haaaaaaaa  On Sunday we drove up to Williamsburg for the afternoon to find someplace new to eat and walk around the little downtown area.  We had lunch at The Blue Talon, which was wonderful, by the way.  But, more importantly for girl trying to lose weight, we walked around for about an hour.  I had my camera handy like any good tourist, so I snapped a few shots in one of the gardens (and then played around with them on Picnik)  Here are my faves:


First, the original that shows a lot of the colors in the garden (with a little saturation adjustment.)  I love the pattern inside the bellflowers of the foxglove...I'm going to have to search for some beads that are inspired by that pattern.  Let me know if you have any references of beads to honor this poisonous pretty!  (I just googled to make sure I was calling it the right thing and found out it's a poisonous plant.  I'm glad we didn't like any of them.  haaaaaaaaaa)



And after a little Picnik play, here's a close-up of the focal set with lots of adustments.  I love the energy of the color in this one!


Williamsburg's flowers

And then there was a big bumble bee.  I spent a good five minutes chasing it around the garden trying to get a decent shot without him moving.  Curt was cracking up as I kneeled down to get a shot and the crazy thing flew right towards my camera and scared me backwards with a little scream.  Too funny...no one was injured.  :)



I went to town on this one and have lots of other versions...I honestly don't know which one I like best!  The first one I spent a lot of time painting the background out into black and white...

Pink and bee After

Then, a little color changing magic...along with a few other filters to make this purple painterly version.

Pink and bee Purple

And then a little skinnier peachy version.

Pink and bee peach

Okay, I think the last one is probably my favorite.  It actually looks yummy to me...apparently it's time for a snack.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I Heart Macro - Vintage Style

A few vintage blue beads from over at Bead Haven


The original blue beads


I like the original shot, but felt like playing a little more, so here are a few other versions:


Blue Beads


and this one...


Blue Beads 2

Thanks to Lori Waterstone and the rest of the "macro" crowd...you can see more if you click here:

studio waterstone

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dandelions and Wacky Chunkies

It's always so funny to submit things to magazines because you have to do it so early that the seasons seem to be offset.  Back in November I had to get in the groove of April and May to meet the design deadlines.  Apparently it worked out because now that it's May, Bead Trends is out and there's a pretty little set all ready for the flowers and sunshine and rain showers (and pollen and stuffy nose....haaaaaaaa) that I'm proud to say I created!


November Jewelry 078


I know we're more in dandelion's yellow flowering time right now, but eventually those little fluff balls will be out.  This polymer clay bead captures the fluff beautifully...it's from Heather at Humblebeads.  I found a few available in her etsy shop if you're coveting.


November Jewelry 070


Those awesome lampworked glass disks are some of my faves from Heather (a different Heather) at HMB Studios.  She calls them "wacky chunky" and since I think of myself as kind of wacky chunky I have a huge collection of them as a sort of self tribute. haaaaaaaa 


She actually just posted this week that there are a bunch of new wacky chunky sets in her Etsy shop.


November Jewelry 073


In addition to the awesome art beads, the other thing I think is cool about this set is the fact that those little bone flower circles actually came from Michael's...and I'm sure I used a coupon so they were a super deal.  It's a good balance of more expensive handmade beads with some bargains.  I'm trying to get over being too much of a bead snob.  :)  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dear Ma,

This post is for you!  I know you'll get it because you were the first one to subscribe to this blog years ago, just like you've always been the first one there subscribing to whatever my latest and greatest ideas happened to be.  I can't even tell you how much I appreciate knowing that you're always there.


Even though I've had these old photo albums here for months with no action, I was inspired this morning to do a little work in honor of Mother's day.  There are tons of great pictures in those books and among all that we've collected over the years so I just picked a few of them...


Here's one from a big day nearly 40 years ago when you first became a mom.  I'm glad you guys have those big smiles on your face...you didn't realize what was in store!


1971 Jen's First Day


I may not be a piano player now, but being around music and creativity was definitely a wonderful thing and has led me to appreciate life so much more.  


1971 Jen Baby at Piano


You helped me figure out pretty early on it life that laughter is the key...even when seriously focused on riding a tricycle around Grammy's house.  


1971 Jen Baby on Tricycle


I think it's pretty cool that we look so much alike...and we laugh so much alike...and we sing-song so much alike.  It makes me happy and proud and even a little bit nostalgic.  :)  So, to head farther down that old-photo-album trail, let me share a few more from a little earlier on in life...


How about this one from the 50's?  See that baby girl?  It's you!  And that smile on Grammy Hine's face?  Uh, if that isn't the Hine laughing look then I don't know what is...


1950s Grammy and Carol


And since I can't represent Grammy without sharing a few of all the Hine kids, here's one from around the table.  I love that most of the pictures in the album seem to be from around the table because it just goes to show that we've always been focused on food...it's apparently genetic.  haaaaaaaaaa


1950s Kids with Grammy Hine 2


Here's one from 1955 and your birthday.  Isn't Rob just the cutest?  If I'm not mistaken, I think that may even be another mother generation of your grandma with April on her lap.  Birthday parties are the best!


1950s Kids with Grammy Hine - June 1955


I could probably write more mushy and heartfelt stuff, but I'm actually not all that sentimental and I'm kinda hungry.  In your cheftastic honor, I got up and made a quiche for breakfast this morning and it's almost cool enough to eat.  I hope you love the pictures and have a wonderful day doing what you do best:  menu planning, walking, baking, and napping.  :)


Love you!
Jen

Friday, May 6, 2011

Playing with Singed Carpet

The title of this post would have been "playing with fire" to celebrate my first homemade enameled beads except that during the creative process I had a little accident.  No flesh was burned in the process, so I'm still calling the evening creative session a success, but the apartment's carpet not not fare so well.

There I was, atop a stool at my kitchen counter with my new torch all set up and a fire extinguisher at the ready.  I got out my enamels from Barbara's class and lit up the flame.  Alas, most of the beads I expected to use turned out to be less than ideal and just sort of turned black and flaky.  I kept on, though, to find the "good ones" in the bunch that I picked up at Bead Fest.  As I got to town with my enamels and trying to get all creative with many layers of enamels, I ended up with a bead stuck on the mandrel.  I followed proper procedures to reheat and get it off, but when I went to pull it off with the special tool, it didn't go into the cooling tray but fell onto the tile I was using as my fire-proof surface.  I watching it slowly roll and, amazingly enough, I didn't grab the still burning hot bead.  I kept staring as it rolled off the tile and onto the floor.  Apparently working over the carpeted side of the counter was not a good idea, I realized, as I saw the bead sitting there and wondered if it would cause flames.  I came to my senses and pulled a hot pad out of the drawer quickly and picked it up leaving a smoking black hole.  At least the bead ended up with some interesting texture from the melted carpet fibers!  haaaaaaaaaaaa 



I didn't come up with much success in the bead department but I'm kind of liking the enamel/patina that came up on the washers.  I have to see how it cools and then figure out if it'll stay durable or just chip off.  There's potential, at least.  The round beads all ended up lumpy and I think the striped beads aren't going to hold the enamel, either.  Oh well!  It was good practice and I learned a few good lessons...like put down something to protect the floor!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Nature's Curls and Coils

On a hike through the woods near Bedford Springs, I used the camera as an excuse to take lots of breaks from the uphill parts.  I realized after looking at the results when we were finished (and sitting at the pub drinking a beer) that I found a lot of naturally-occuring spirals, curls, bends, and fun curves.  Oh, to take these and get inspired with a little wire.  If only I didn't have to get dressed and go to work.  :)


I just love the bite of this bark....haaaaaaaaaa


I'm really frond of this shot:


I'm going to use these for design motivation this weekend...feel free to share links in your comments to anything you get inspired to create from a little look outside!!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pretty Feets

Every time I look at my toes I think of Dora Schubert's glass beads.


See what I mean?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I Heart Macro on a Sunday Evening

I have had a busy, creative weekend!  Later this week after the glue dries and the ends are trimmed I'll share my work from Art & Soul this weekend.  I had a class all day on Saturday on weaving--really cool looms and tons of mixed media along with a bunch of wonderful characters/fellow students & instructors.  Then, tonight I ended up taking a silk paper class at the suggestion of some of my new friends from Saturday!  Right at the moment I'm just getting sorted out for the end of the weekend and the impending Monday morning uniform requirements so I don't have time for good pics and good links.  Instead, I'm going to share another one of my shots from last week's vacation in Bedford at the Springs in honor of Macro Sunday...


This is some of the luscious tapestry of the curtains in the ballroom where we enjoyed Easter brunch last Sunday.




Hope you've all had a wonderful weekend.  If you're looking for more details (get it, detailed pics?!), then here's the link to the Macro Sunday crowd at Studio Waterstone:

studio waterstone

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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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