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!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Is That a Torch in Your Kitchen or Are You Just Here for A Giveaway?

Welcome to the latest stop on the Painting with Fire blog book tour!  I'm thrilled to be able to share a little bit of my creative world--especially how I've added fire into my crafty repertoire.  :)  

I've always been a fan of enameled beads but they were sort of a mystery to me since they were metal and glass all kinda put together in what seemed to be some magical way.  Then, I had a chance to take one of Barbara's workshops and I was hooked!  Just a few relatively simple tools and I could make my own fantastically colored beads!  I'll never forget the first time I got a bubbly sort of finish on a big copper round and went running over to Barbara to show it off like a second-grader with a frog!  We laughed and laughed at how easily excited I was!  I immediately knew I would be taking the torch kit home.  It just made so much sense the way Barbara put everything together in a kind of "pack and play" setup.  See, I live in an apartment so I don't have a big cellar or garage or front porch or other space that I can devote to a large torch setup.  This seemed like the perfect solution:  clamp the torch on the counter, lay out a fireproof surface, set out the bead pulling station, and go to town!  Here's a little "before and after" of my kitchen counter/workshop:
Although there's a bunch of other stuff around on the counter, like little copper scraps and some random wire and tools, the actual workspace is nice and compact.  I think just about every enameling project in Barbara's book could be made in this little workspace.
I wasn't sure about what to put my enamels into when I got started...the containers need to be big enough to dip the beads into, but also resistant to heat.  Lo' and behold, I realized that my fatty catties would be able to help out and I found some cat food cans!  They are perfect!
I experimented with quite a few colors--mixed some opaques and transparents.  Some were awesome and some just looked like dried blood.  haaaaaaaaaa  Some of them were crackly because I didn't heat them right and some ended up with chunks of vermiculite in them, but all were great practice.  I even tried out some frit--that's the little green glass chunks in the photo above. 
After fishing all of my sweet little treasures out of the bread pan, I had these beauties...and a few uglies, but we won't focus on them. :)
After putting the kitchen back to its normal state and packing up the torch-head, tools, and barenaked copper beads so they'd be back in the closet and out of the way, I set out to make some special pieces to share in this post.  

Here's the first one...I consider it a celebration of handmade since there are seven different artists represented in here:
- can see the purple and green bead on the right--that's one from the batch above that I made using a mix of purples to coat the bead and then some transparent green frit.  I also made the paper bead with my own painted paper, the lavender solid bead on the left, and the purple disk pendant.
- Barbara Lewis - the enameled filigree beads are some of her original enameled work.
- Nikki Thornburg - supercool pod headpins and the purple square connector are lampwork pieces from  an artist I newly discovered at a local bead show.
- Alice St. Germain - the fun purple and green lampwork rings as well as the green flower-shaped disks that are paired with the pod headpins.
- Julianna Cannon - the blue lampwork bead with the green dots that matches the paper bead so perfectly is a Juls bead!
- Kristie Roeder - there's a little green stoneware pendant with a purple center that's catching the light just right on the left.
- Bronwen Heilman - the green ring in the middle is a bit of her recycled glass.
I really wanted to keep that one when it was finished, so I decided to make another one...this one I'm willing to part with, so it's a GIVEAWAY!

This is a nice long necklace that features two of my special paper beads, two big solid beads that I created with layers of blue and raspberry along with some of my very first brass bead caps, two enameled filligree beads that I made with various purple shades and then a few accents of lampwork rings from Leah Deeb and Swarovski crystals from my stash!
Plus, as another sweet deal, Barbara is including these awesome pendants enameled with decals as one of the prizes...yes, another giveaway!
Winners will be chosen for these at 10:00 tonight, the 15th of October so you'll know if you're the lucky one tomorrow!

There are bunches of other lovely things to see on this tour, so here's a list to follow along:

     October 6, Mary Jane Dodd,
     October 7, Gaea Cannaday,
     October 8, Linda Larsen,
     October 10, Andrew Thornton,
     October 11, Lori Plyler,
     October 12, Diane Cook,
     October 13, Lori Anderson,
     October 14, LeAnn Weih,
     October 15, Jen Judd Velasquez,
     October 17, Melissa Meman,
     October 18, Lisa Crone,
     October 19, Shannon LeVart,
     October 20, Cindy Wimmer,
     October 21, Laura Twiford,
     October 22, Erin Prais-Hintz,
     October 24, Jennifer Cameron,

Plus, there's even more going on to celebrate:

There are prizes throughout the book tour plus a grand prize at the end!  The more you spread the excitement, the more chances you have to win some of the goodies our bloggers are giving away!

1.  Leave a comment on this post and become a follower = 1 chance.

2.  Tweet, facebook or blog about the giveaway and leave a comment at this post:  the original Virtual Book Tour post  = 1 additional chance.

3.  While you're at Barbara's Blog, if you become a follower or say that you're already a follower in your comment = 1 additional chance.

So, you can earn up to three chances per giveaway.  A winner will be selected by 10 p.m. eastern time and be announced the following day. You can check back at Barbara's blog for the name of the winner or at any other of the participating blogs.

To thank you for following along, we will have a BONUS PRIZE at the end of the book tour!  All of the entries will be included in the drawing for a kit containing all the elements of "Floral Cascade," one of the projects in the book! You'll receive everything you need to make the necklace, including the chain, jump rings, clasp, enamel beads, and head pins!
But that's not all!
For a chance to win the Grand Prize - a Torch-Firing Kit (or $110 shopping experience at - please leave a review at by November 24.  Remember, leave an honest review... the book must stand on its own.
Thanks for playing along!
P.S. Unfortunately, we have to restrict the giveaways to U.S. residents.  Winners should contact Barbara with their name and address through her author website: so that you can receive your prizes!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Things that are Awesome

- A new white shower curtain liner that replaces the one that I tried washing twice but couldn't get the soapy pinky stuff off.
- The exterminator folks who called me today to let me know that they thought the huge payment I sent to them by accident while paying bills after three beers was wrong; now they're giving me a discount and sending me a refund.
- Chocolate in the candy jar in the front office while waiting for the boss to show up for a meeting that was on her calendar but for which she is 25 minutes late. 
- Early morning on-line iPad shopping.  Now I just need to pick a cover.
- Marshmellow goggles and crumb-y lips after winning Yahtzee by over 300 points.
- Crazy bruises on my arm that look like I got attacked by an alien in the middle of the night and are, apparently, nothing but bruises even though they showed up for no apparent reason.
- Brined chicken cooked by my brother-in-law on the huge new rotisserie grill.  I'm so glad I claimed all the leftovers!
- Random gifts from friends that show up in huge boxes that are hard to carry up to the apartment but end up being wonderful adventures in gift-opening.
- Successfully using my paper beads in a design.
- Jackhammer noise that's constant outside my workaday window...the wind tunnel is almost gone so the noise and dust and burning smell may stop soon.
- White grape Crystal light...but only if it's mixed just right with two little bottle packs in a full-sized Pampered Chef mix'n'stir pitcher.

- "Modern Girl" pink nail polish with just the right hint of glitter.

- Cat breath right in my face first thing in the morning.
- My mom in the kitchen.
- Jigsaw puzzles...but not the one on my table right now because there's too much of it that looks like wood so it took a long time to figure out.
- Rugs from faraway lands.
- Daily challenges dealing with the indecision of leaders who only focus on money and issues inside the beltway and don't give a damn about the people those indecisions affect.
- Being reminded by your mother that when you were little you thought marshmellows came from a plant.
- Turning marshmellow goggles into a perfect smore and then actually getting a good picture of it.

- Snuggling on the couch under my very favorite blanket that I got as a birthday gift in 1989 from my aunt and uncle while on a band trip to Europe.
- Cats who let you clean their ears and cut their nails and give them allergy shots all in one sitting.
- Troops who take care of business even when it's not fun.
- Cool fonts. 
- Blogging.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

BTW: Raspberry & Marigold

I'm getting ready for my Painting with Fire post on Saturday so those beads are out on the table right now.  I'm going to work on projects featuring these big rounds...don't know where I'm going to head with them, but I want to try to incorporate some of my paper beads, too.  I love the combinations of raspberry and blue next to the pink and marigold.  
They're not exactly "fall" colors so we'll see how inspired I can get!  For my Saturday post, I'm going to show off how I set up my little torch-centric workspace in my tiny apartment can do this kind of flamework anywhere!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hipstamonday: Sunshine in Pennsylvania

Curtis and I had a fantastic weekend up in Pennsylvania.  It was the second weekend of the huge Fall Foliage Festival, so I got to spend some time with my friends serving up some walking tacos to the masses.  That was only after we celebrated my sweet nephew Liam's 4th birthday.  How do these boys get so big so fast!?

We stopped at the rest stop just over the border in PA and there were some huge sunflowers planted around the building.  Nerds that we are, we were up in looking at them trying to figure out how the seeds are up in there.  I didn't have my "big" camera so I busted out the Hipstamatic and took a this yellow!
I have to get back to laundry and get ready for this short week.  Only four days until the next weekend...that means I need to get to work on projects featuring my very own enameled beads for the Painting with Fire book tour.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Torch-Fired October: The Book Tour Schedule!

We can now rename October 2011 to "Awesome Book Tour Month"!  

My blue-uniformed day job has been extraordinarily overwhelming lately, (hence the lack of posting) and makes me really want to rename October the "Crazy Air Force Un-Decision-Making Month" but that wouldn't put positive karma out there like this book so I'm going TORCH FIRED instead!!
Throughout the month, starting today with Mary Jane Dodd, you'll be able to see projects and inspiration from Barbara's brand new book.  I'm going to be hosting a stop on 15 October and can't wait to share some of the awesome beads I made last Friday night.  I'm planning to show off my kitchen table/workshop and just how easy it is to add a little "hotness" to your creative life--even in a tiny apartment!

Here's the list of hosts for you to follow:

     October 6, Mary Jane Dodd,
     October 7, Gaea Cannaday,
     October 8, Linda Larsen,
     October 10, Andrew Thornton,
     October 11, Lori Plyler,
     October 12, Diane Cook,
     October 13, Lori Anderson,
     October 14, LeAnn Weih,
     October 15, Jen Judd Velasquez,
     October 17, Melissa Meman,
     October 18, Lisa Crone,
     October 19, Shannon LeVart,
     October 20, Cindy Wimmer,
     October 21, Laura Twiford,
     October 22, Erin Prais-Hintz,
     October 24, Jennifer Cameron,

There will be prizes throughout the tour plus a grand prize at the end, so you'll have to stop off and visit these sites throughout the month.  Plus, there'll be a BONUS PRIZE at the end of the tour:   All of the entries on the "official" posts will be included in the drawing for a kit containing all the elements of "Floral Cascade," one of the projects in the book! You'll receive everything you need to make the necklace, including the chain, jump rings, clasp, enamel beads, and head pins!  

But that's not all!

For a chance to win the GRAND PRIZE - a Torch-Firing Kit (or $110 shopping experience at - please leave a review at by November 24.  Remember, leave an honest review... the book must stand on its own.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Macro Sunday

Curt and I went to the Newport News Fall Folklife Festival yesterday.  In the midst of craft booths, funnel cakes, and muddy walkways Curt saw this really cool fungus among us.  It's kind of gross and kind of beautiful all at the same time, so that's my close-up shot for this week's I Heart Macro Sunday post.
The follow-on activity from any fall festival is the cozy couch boys have perfected their napping skills.... 
And this photo was an accident from yesterday when my friend, Jeff, was trying to explain white balance and I got tired of listening...cracks me up because I apparently look like this most of the time. 
Hop on over to Studio Waterstone to see the latest up-close interpretations of life...
studio waterstone


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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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