Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Vi's Christmas Dream: A Glass House

And not just any glass house, a hand-crafted glass gingerbread house!  Just look at this piece...every detail is glass, all fused together, bit by bit, to create this fun and festive spin on a tradition.
Glass artist Vi Laux, from Pittsburgh, PA, was an exhibitor in my hometown back in October at the Fall Foliage Festival.  I've often admired her fused glass work, but was completely in awe of this special piece.  I've been meaning to post about it for ages, and am finally making time this morning!!
For those of you not familiar with glass work, this is kinda amazing...each piece of glass has to be cut and then placed and then heated in a kiln until it all melts together.  All of this while hoping that nothing breaks.  And that's simplifying it a lot!
 A happy snow man and lots of sweets!!
***Update on 21 Dec 11:  This piece is still available in the Gallery at the Bedford County Arts Council until 23 Dec 11!***

Vi's work is also carried in several other galleries
~ Beads2Wear, McMurray, PA
~ Tari's Cafe & Inn, Berkeley Springs, WV

 Happy, happy Christmas week!  

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Typographic Homesteads

My Aunt April saw some of my photoediting work out on Facebook and asked for a couple of pieces for her friends using pictures of their family homes and their names.  I tried using my iPhone app, WordFoto, which I love, but it doesn't allow for a prioritization of names.  Meaning, I couldn't make the mom and dad bigger than the others.  I wandered around the Internet looking for a tutorial and found several for typographic portraits, but all are done with full-up Photoshop, and not Elements, so I couldn't get past the second step.  So, I improvised and got creative with plain old brushes and color sampling.
The gift exchange was this weekend and Aunt April reported that the recipients loved them! 
It's a little late for Christmas, now, but if you're interested in something like this, email me through my blogger profile and we can chat and see about working up a project! 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Modified Holiday Ornament Blog Hop Post

I first met Sally Russick at ArtBliss last summer.  She had such great positive energy and a huge smile (and a glass of wine, so she knew where I could get one for myself!)  She moved over so I could smash myself down on the couch in the lobby of the Artbliss-hosting hotel next to her.  We were surrounded by a bunch of other awesome chicks showing off our Bead Soup pieces and comparing notes about workshops we were all excited about attending the next day.  It's those little relationships that happen in person for just a few hours or days that parlay themselves into fun blog-land family activities.  

Sally put together a blog hop this year to celebrate the holidays with an ornament exchange...and she's so far ahead of the game that she did it two months ago!   She paired me up with Rebecca Anderson, the artist behind Songbeads.  Well, Rebecca and I are apparently cut from similar cloth as we both waited until too late to create our ornaments and get them in the mail.  Mind you, she's in the UK, so priority mail wouldn't even alleviate our tardiness.  haaaaaaaaaaaa  But, she's wonderfully forgiving, as is Sally, so we'll be posting about our exchange later once the packages get to their final destinations.

In the meantime, though, I still wanted to share something ornamental, so I sat down at my bead table this morning for the first time in AGES and waited for some inspiration to hit.  Luckily, it didn't take long!  I have scads of paper beads that I feverishly created over the summer for no apparent reason other than to hoard them, so that's where I started.  Then, I figured, I have an even larger hoard of handcrafted art beads, so why not bust them out...seriously, I pay a fortune for these little miniature art pieces and I keep them in a drawer; that's just wrong!!!  So, I give you these little darlings:
As soon as I decided to let myself use any bead in the drawer and keep it a simple straight line, it was amazing how fast these worked up!  I used big fat aluminum wire to give them a little more heft.  The fat wire works perfect with the handcrafted beads that are usually created on a larger mandrel.
Each ornament started with one of my paper beads, and then I started hoard-shopping from there.  Since I painted the papers for the rolled beads myself, I already know I like the color combos!  haaaaaaaaaaa
I've got lots of other artisan hands represented here:
- Julianna Cannon - Julsbeads
- Heather Boardman - HMB Studios
- Kerry Bogert - Kab's Creative Concepts
- Diane Hawkey 
- Sue Kennedy - Suebeads
- Katerina - MayaHoney
- Kristie Roeder - Artisan Clay
I bet you're wondering why I didn't hang them on a Christmas tree for the pictures; well, I live in a tiny-ass apartment and can't even imagine putting a tree up in here.  I have a little tree in my office, but I'm doing my best to stay out of there this weekend, so I'm not going in there just for pictures.  :)

So, as to the real business of the day, here's a list of the folks participating in Sally's Ornament Swap for your blog hopping enjoyment:

1. Sally Russick   WireWorked Handcrafted Jewelry
2. Kim Hora   KimmyKats
3. Kathleen Lange Klik   Modern Nature
4. Susan Kennedy    Sue Beads
5. Jenny Davies-Reazor    The Art of Jennifer Davies-Reazor
6. Christine Altmiller    One Kiss Creations Beaded Jewelry
7. Jeanette Blix Ryan   Jeanette Blix Metal and Wire Jewlery
8. Holly Westfall  Silver Rose Designs ~ Handcrafted Jewelry
9. Mallory Hoffman   For the Love of Beads
10. Tamara Soper  Handcrafted Baubles by Tamara
11. Rebecca Anderson  Songbeads
12. Jen Velasquez   Jenn Judd Rocks
13. Jennifer L Justman   Souls Fire Designs
14.  Sandi Volpe  Sandi Volpe Handcrafted Jewelry
15.  Melissa Meman  Melismatic  Eclectic Art Jewelry
16. Hope Smitherman  Crafty Hope
17. Patty Gasparino  My Life Under the Bus
18.  Cindy Wimmer  Sweet Bead Studio
19. Erin Prais-Hintz  Tresures Found/ Tesori Trovati Jewelry
20.  Alice Peterson  Alice Dreaming

Thank you, Sally!
Have an extra-sparklie Saturday!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Bigger the Better

While home with my family at Thanksgiving, I got to spend a few days just hanging out and relaxing.  My sister gave me an awesome project to work!  Her house is a stunning "cabin" in the country and has a massive fireplace.  She had a pretty wreath up over the mantel, but it just wasn't to scale, so we chatted and decided to go bigger.  She could see the gleam in my eyes as I thought about the massive amounts of glitter that would be on sale.  I was please to be able to be a "consulting crafter" since she wasn't sure where to start looking for a big, pre-lit wreath.  I sent her off for the greens and and I went for the gold and silver.  Then, off I went working on this 5-footer!

I worked in her garage with a little Christmas music playing and my mom helping out by sweeping up glitter behind me.  The only music source I had was my iPhone, so I flipped on my playlist and the first song was something from my workout playlist by Judas Priest.  Right away, I realized that wouldn't work...haaaaaaaaaa  So, I downloaded Pandora and got to some streaming Christmas goodness.  Much better.  I went CRAZY with the glittery stuff and ribbon.  It was so much fun because it's something that I normally wouldn't least not on that large of a scale.  I couldn't pick just one ribbon, so I used six of them.  haaaaaaaaa

 And, when all was said and done, my sis sent a shot of the final result all hung up and lit...just perfect!!!!  I highly recommend a little glitter and wire if you need any additional reason to get in the holiday spirit!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blog Hop: Challenge of Color

I wrote a big long post last night that was all scheduled for this morning, but now here I am retyping the  thing because it has somehow disappeared.  Lovely.  So, you're going to get the highlights:
~ This is the 2nd Annual Challenge of Color Blog Hop.
~ Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati is a prolific inspirer and is our host for today.
~ Erin invited participants to choose from 12 color families. 
~ I picked pink, even though that's not really a "winter" color and I wasn't sure what would happen.
~ Erin chose personalized palettes designed by Jessica Colaluca of Design Seeds.
~ My palette, called "sweetened tints," is based on a cupcake.  Awesome.
~ I love the recycled sari ribbon from Darn Good Yarn.
~ I just happened to have a brand new (can you have a "brand new" thing of something recycled?) skein of ribbon called "Fall Nightfall" that has all my cupcake colors.
~ I am recently obsessed with crocheting little shapes with a big hook.
~ After making a pile of little shapes out of ribbon, I picked one to create a pin.
~ The ribbon bits + steel wire + random pearls = pretty bit for atop a scarf or coat.
~ The hardest part of the whole thing was the actual pin piece; had to make it big enough to hold up the "flower" and smooth enough to keep from ripping up whatever it's pinned onto.
~ I wanted to display it on a cool and creamy (buttercreamy, specifically) scarf but didn't get it done; hence, the pictures are all posed on a half completed scarf and it's accompanying yarn.
~ If I didn't have to go put on camouflage to go to the office, I'd wear this right now!
~ Because I think the ribbon is so awesome, I want to give some away from my stash, a few yards of each of my faves.
~~ (This is a sub-bullet...this is how we write at work! haaaaaaaaaa)  Leave a comment and tell me something funny and I'll draw from the comments on Friday to pick a winner.
~ There are a ton of other great inspired bloggers out there...go see their goods:

18 Tari Kahrs ~ Orange ~ Citrus Tones
23 Amy Severino ~ Orange ~ Winged Tones
28 Linda Landig ~ Green ~ Cacti Dark
35 CJ Bauschka ~ Teal ~ Teal Air
41 Jenni Connolly ~ Gray ~ Paw Tones

~ Thank you to Erin for hosting, Jessica for coming up with amazing palettes, my blog friends for being a piece of the party, and my blog readers/commenters for coming along for the ride!

Monday, November 28, 2011


Where have I been?  Why, sitting right here on the couch!  haaaaaaaaa  

I haven't been here on the couch the whole time I've been missing from the blogosphere, but have been here plenty.  I've been working on a Marie Otero workshop trying to learn Photoshop Elements and am THRILLED with the lessons.  I was overwhelmed by all the options, at first, but Marie has videos that walk through every adjustment step by step and I have since spent hours working on making pics that are "just right."  For instance, here's one with a little bit of a teaser for an upcoming blog hop...
In addition to this gorgeous ribbon, I've been in a fiber mode.  While walking through Michael's a couple of weeks ago, I saw some pretty yarn and decided I should break out my crochet needles to make some Christmas gifts.  Next thing I know, I'm spending a whole day making little crocheted flowers...for no reason!!  I have no end result in sight, but really wanted to learn how to make little flowers.  That little flower obsession may also show up in a blog hop soon.  :)

In other life developments, I was hugely stressed out at work over some major civilian personnel actions and my dissatisfaction with the way the whole process works and since I didn't have anything nice to say about it, I couldn't really go writing about it.  I still don't have much to say about it, but have come to some sort of peace with the fact that I'm just a tiny cog in a giant bureaucracy and will continue to advocate for taking care of people even if the decision-makers don't care to listen.  :)  And, then I will spend plenty of time at work investigating my retirement options!  haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Other than the stress of work, I survived the Thanksgiving holiday in spite of lots of hours logged in the car and on planes.  It was wonderful to spend time with my family & out in Kansas with Curt's.  I have more to report and photos to share, but I have to get busy on the project for the blog hop that's due in two days!! haaaaaa  When did I become so completely last minute?  Or, have I always been that way?

Hope you all are doing well and having fun since it can be a challenge with all that goes on during these frantic end-of-the-year weeks!!  Even though the official day of thanks is over, I'm thankful for you...anyone who takes time to be creative and is willing to share!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Red Leaves and a Random Building

I'm waiting for my Nyquil to kick in, so I have a little time to play with some new pictures.  I went out on a "photo safari" in Washington, DC, last weekend and had a fantastic walk around Connecticut Ave with a little group of folks led by a local photographer, PJ Barbour.  He was a great teacher to our bunch...we all held our cameras out and looked at him hopefully as we tried to get the perfect adjustments to capture the local scenery.  It was a great experience and I'd highly recommend it if you're around this area...there's one in Old Town Alexandria next weekend and I'd go if I wasn't going to be up in Pennsylvania eating turkey until I bust.  Here's the link:  ThingstodoDC.

This is one of my fave shots and I used some PSE tricks to pump it up a few notches.  I don't remember what the building actually is, but the way the sun was coming through the leaves and bouncing around the curves of the building it was just gorgeous!
Red leaves on safari_edited-1
Here are few more shots that I haven't messed with yet...but I still think they're good as is.
This one is a "roaring door" with the reflection of the leaves in the glass.
Roaring Door
This is view of Gandhi from in front of the Indian Embassy.  I need to edit that little nugget out of the bottom of the shot.  :)
I wasn't trying to get a silhouette shot of this plant, but I think this came out really cool!
A candid shot of PJ trying to get us all sorted out...all that aperture, exposure and stuff!! haaaaaaaa
The safari crowd
We all practiced getting our shutter speed right to capture a big leaf toss.  This is my best one...PJ posed for us (and threw a lot of leaves).
My little green pills are settling in, so I'm off.  I have lots of craft ventures to share but haven't had time to sit down and compose:  crochet, glittery ornaments, paper boxes, photography.  I've got a little bit of everything going on and a whole lot of nothing getting done!  haaaaaaaaaaaaaa  Cheers to you and your November!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I Heart Macro: Rusty

While out walking near the beach at Fort Monroe last week, I got some shots of a nearby building that has been in the elements for a looooong time.  The wear of the paint and metal was just too cool!  This is a bit of window and sill.  I'm not really sure what's inside of the building.  I think it's some kind of mechanical shop but since it was a Sunday afternoon, there weren't any people around.
Here's a bit of the sun-touched rusty finish on the side of the building.  I took dozens of shots...even had Curt holding me up precariously on a pedestal so I could get the right angle of light.  He is such a good sport!
And then I practiced my photoshopping a bit with this one and I love it!  
Here's a final shot that's not so macro but still captures more of that crunchy texture:

Enjoy your extra long Sunday!

studio waterstone

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lightposts at Home

Home in the fall, originally uploaded by jenjuddrocks.

Here's a shout out to the girls of Downtown Bedford for these lovely lightposts! They've done amazing work with all the additions to the sidewalks and storefronts.

I took this picture while home for the big Fall Foliage Festival a few weeks ago. The posts were all decorated with cornstalks and the sky was gorgeous and sunny. There was a kid standing nearby working one of the many parking lots for some high school fundraiser who watched me crawl around on my knees looking for the best angle. I think this picture was worth his staring and my sore legs from crouching. :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

A little lavender for ma

I had a frustrating day at work, as usual, but I was really, really excited to get home and work on the next lesson in my Elements class.  I didn't exactly stick with the theme of today when working on my own project, but I think it says something that I was confident enough to move into new effects on my own, so that makes me happy.

This is some lovely lavender that was in a planter along the street in Tacoma when I visited a couple of months ago.  Lavender always makes me think of my mom and that makes me happy.  I get to go home in a couple of weeks to see all my aunts, uncles, cousins, and kids and such.  I'm so excited!!!  
Here's the before picture, which isn't all that bad, but I love how the yellow warms it up and the highlights are brighter in the edited version.
I think I need some Skinny Cow.  I broke my promise to myself that I wouldn't eat any candy today, but that didn't work out so well.  I'll be back to the gym in the morning, though, and will give it some extra oomph to make up for the 3 extra musketeers that became a large part of my afternoon.  I know ya'll know what I'm talking about...don't pretend that all those little candy wrappers in your trash are from your kids!  haaaaaaaaaaa

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My first week of Photo Magic

Rooster Number 2, originally uploaded by jenjuddrocks.
Very originally titled "Rooster Number 2". This is one of the crazy roosters down the road from my sister's house in Dutch Corner near Bedford. I'm learning how to use my Photoshop Elements (finally) and this is one of my practice pieces from the first couple of lessons. There is waaaaay too much potential for lost hours! I've been working here for four hours and it feels like four minutes! Crazy! I can't wait to do more!

This is the original....
This is my first class with Marie Otero and so far I'm loving it...full-up videos that walk you through every key stroke to create specific effects.  That's what I was looking for...the books and magazines were not working.  :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Heart Macro: Stones

I'm on Day Two of big agenda-free weekend and ready to rock my Sunday!  I can't wait to share more about my adventures yesterday.  I spent a few hours Skyping with my new bud, Bette, working on her new blog:  Art Pages Etc.  Her paper and journals are completely awesome so I can't wait to see more!   I have lots more to say about learning new blogger "stuff" and figuring out how to make things look just like I want but that's for a whole other post.  Today is just for pretty this one of some special tourmaline that I splurged on for my birthday back in July.  (If you really believe it's just masquerading flourite and garnet, please don't burst my bubble!  haaaaaaaaaaaaa)
I've had them out on my table for months just waiting for the perfect project.  My goal today is to use them--at least a few of them--in something awesome.  Now that I laid them all out in those gradient rows I think I may actually try to stitch something!  Hmmmmm.  Ooooh, or maybe work them onto a thick brass cuff...oooh, or maybe sew them on a leather cuff!  Uh oh, I need another cup of coffee before I delve into that one.
Here's a little bit of a start on a memory wire bangle using some of them.  Since it's getting close to Christmas I end up with people asking if they can buy things who are then shocked by what I want them to pay for them.  Alas, it's the crisis of handmade artisan goods.  Instead of devaluing my work overall, I'm trying to mix the pricier pieces like artisan beads or super-pretty semi-precious stones with less expensive construction methods that are still high quality and in my own creative style--hence, the memory wire.  
Dozens of other creative souls are out there today "sharing the love - up close" thanks to Studio Waterstone's inspiration.  Click on the button below to see others.  :)
studio waterstone

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Productivity is the Name of the Game

It's early on a Saturday morning and all I have in front of me is two days of making and doing.  Gonna try a few new things this weekend.  Wish me luck!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hipstamonday at Fort Monroe

Curtis came down to visit this weekend and we spent time appreciating the simple things in life...
Sleeping in even after the fire alarm went off at 7 flippin' am.
Giftcards that were lost on the desk that lead to a free meal.
A fat cat who likes to snuggle.
Fresh breezes in the bedroom window.
Sunday crossworld puzzles.
And, most importantly, pretty sand and scenery at the beach.

We went for a walk down on Fort Monroe.  On 1 October it ceased to be an active military installation and now it's part of Hampton as a park.  It's going to be a great place for walks and runs now that it's not so painful to go through the gate without a DoD car sticker.  Here are some huge seagulls...and a purple sky!  Love my phone.  :)

As we walked, I shook the camera just to see what would come up--the lenses and films change randomly--and took shots.  This is some ridged sand:
Fort Monroe sand

And how about this one?  The seagulls were huge!  Most of them ran off while I was walking down there, but the crazy lens on this one took such a cool shot!
Fort Monroe beach and birds]
Here's a bit of wall where the water will be at high tide.

If you have an iPhone and haven't downloaded it yet, click here to find the Hipstamatic app.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Thanks so much for the many comments and inspiration from yesterday's post!!  I'm thrilled to share in Barbara's Painting with Fire book tour and even more thrilled to present winners for the double-duty giveaways from yesterday.  I used a random number generator to figure out the winners...

First, for this necklace

(It's kind of a great week for Jenny!  Check out her blog...she was featured on HGTV's That's Clever!)
I'll get it touch with you off-line to work out shipping.

And second, for these lovely little bits of goodness from Barbara
The winner is 
Contact Barbara with your specifics so she can sent you your treats!

Thanks all to following along the book tour...tomorrow's post is over at Melissa Meman's...can't wait to see what she comes up with!!
Have a great week!!


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About Me

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

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