Friday, September 30, 2011

Artisan Clay: Down the Mixed Media Path

First off, I have to pat myself on the back for actually being done on time this month!  Sure, it's Thursday night before the last Friday, but it's not Friday morning!!  I luuuuuurve this button from Kristie's latest Artisan Clay Design Team stash so I wanted to do something really fun and funky with it.  As part of my monthly challenge to get one project done on time, I was figuring I'd do something with the big button at phenomenal adventure last weekend (that I have yet to write about.)  But, alas, it didn't come to pass.  I've had lots of paper out lately working on boxes and beads and such, so I was thinking that maybe I'd try something more in the crafty lane rather than the jewelry lane.  Lord knows how long I've had this frame stuck on my workroom shelf waiting for something to happen, but this was the week....
The challenge of this keep the focus on the button and not on distracting details.  I was really worried about making sure the highlight of the frame design would bring out the best of the button.  It would be really cool to put something more artsy like some calligraphy or an artful photo in the frame, but I settled on this black and white pic of me and my sweetie from our little Montgomery, Alabama, wedding back in 2008. 
The finish on the button was a greyish blue, so I went through both my huge stashes of beads and paper to find some coordinating materials.  I decided to keep it monochromatic in the spirit of keeping the attention on the focal (and whatever's in the frame!) 
I left rustic edges and a lot of the plain wood of the frame showing because I liked the warmth of the color.  I'd almost say I like the natural finish, but it's not really all that natural looking!  haaaaaaaaa  I tore the paper to keep it looking "imperfect" and funky.  When I went through my scrapbooking phase years ago with my buds Lauren & Alicia, we were all into the tearing edges for "character" and I've remained a fan. 
 I shopped through my blue, grey, and silver bead drawers and came up with some fun little bits that bring out the color of the button's glaze but also play with the shapes...round and square.  The kyanite squares are my favorites, but there are also some bamboo-shaped blue stones (maybe some sort of moonstone because they have a gorgeous luster) that are a great dark addition.
I tied all those shapes together with steel wire that I coiled and looped in what I deemed to be a pleasing arrangement.  Then, I busted out the glue gun!  I haven't had that baby out for still has wear and tear on it from my dried flower arranging phase.  (yes, I've had a lot of phases...haaaaaaaaaa)  Oh, and there's a bit of mica layered on there as well...just because it was on the table and I like the texture and color with the rest of the mix.

In's a Picnik collage (because I was having fun on there working my blog header!)
Artisan Clay Design Team September
In actual FINAL closing...let me send you off to see what the rest of the Artisan Clay Design Team came up with this month!! really, I mean it, closing...there's an Artisan Clay trunk show at my local bead shop:  Bead Haven, here in Hampton, Virginia, so if you're close by, I highly encourage you to check it out.  Or, if need be, just tell me what you want and I'll shop!  haaaaaaaaaaa  (There is some seriously awesome stuff in those trays!)

Monday, September 26, 2011


It's way too early on Monday morning and I'm actually enjoying coffee at the house where my husband lives (and I normally don't because we happen to live in different towns even though we love each other) while I check out some BSBP blog posts.  I have been so busy doing some hands-on creating that I haven't opened up my computer all weekend!  I was Blissfully engaged in learning new things and meeting new people at Artbliss on Friday and Saturday.  Thanks to Cindy and Jeannette!  I have lots of new skills to try and want to share all those results, but in the meantime, I'm going to go with a photo post...yes, it's the "easy" way out for an early morning post, but it's gonna have to do.

These are Hipstamatic shots from my trip to Gig Harbor, Washington, back in August.  I went out for a walk one morning and didn't feel like carrying my big camera so I just took my phone.  I ended up spending more time stopping for shots than actually getting sweaty, but it worked out since I got to see lots of pretty things.  I used the "shake" feature in Hipstamatic that will randomly change up the filters and lenses when you shake the phone.  You never know what you're gonna get!

I love these retro tones with the texture of these purple blossoms...
 The black and white of this shot brings out the contrast between the roundness of the buds and the lines of the branches.
 The brightness of the flowers draws me in, but then the focus drifts down to that juicy, shiny berry.
 Since I was actually walking along the waterfront, a little "nautical" shot that brings out the patina just wonderfully!
If you've been venturing out with some Hipstapics, I'd love to see more so feel free to comment and share a link!  Maybe we could start a new photo-blogging trend!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hawkey-Judd-Velasquez Soup!

It's Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal Day!

Party hostess Lori Anderson paired me up with amazing artist Diane Hawkey for this round and it has been a fun week of creating with the soup Diane sent me...especially the beads she made with her own two hands!  I have a few finished pieces to share, created with just a bit of the goodness in my generous helping of soup:

This is a super-long necklace created with a bunch of different types of chain to create an asymmetric design so that I could feature the long ceramic focal bead (down below on the right) in a vertical arrangement.  I pulled together some of the other Diane faceted ceramic nuggets (on the left in turquoise and brown) along with some of my stashed Barbara fire-painted filigree rounds and combined them all with little shiny gold nuggets that give the finished piece just the right amount of sparkle.  I've already worn this out and about a few times and have gotten tons of compliments.
Here's another shot and you can see the organic designs in the Diane focal as well as the coordinating bracelet and earrings that came together out of the mixed chain inspiration.
I have to throw out a little credit to Erin Prais-Hintz for the inspiration I got from her design in the September issue of Bead Trends.  I loved the selection of chain links she used to feature one of her handmade focals and it totally jumpstarted this design.
Since I had all my Barbara beads out next to my new Diane nuggets, I did another necklace...a little shorter and more casual but just as fun. 
I used some of the extra Czech glass to create a linked-up bracelet and some earrings to go together with everything.  I don't normally do links, especially simple links, but it worked out wonderfully and even made it through my wear test.  :)

There are a total of 369 guests at this party, so have fun seeing some new goods, checking out the work of old friends, and getting some novel inspiration!

The Hostess, Lori Anderson and her partner, Manuela Wutschke

19. Anna Sabina­­­­ and Erin Siegel

There are a total of 369 guests at this party, so have fun seeing some new goods, checking out the work of old friends, and getting some novel inspiration!


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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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