Monday, December 17, 2012

Ali Inspiration

This is a sneak peek at a present that's headed to Utah today for a wonderful young lady, Ali.
I just know she's gonna love it!!

I don't spend a lot of time around kids, so when my bud, Dave, asked me to design something for his daughter, Ali, last Easter, I wasn't really sure where to start.  I've seen tons of pictures of her, and heard all about her larger than life personality, but couldn't really wrap my arms around what she'd like.  I had a gorgeous little set of lampworked beads on the table at the time, and went with the flow.  Purple, pink, yellow and orange...that can't go wrong, right?  Well, I got lucky and it worked!  Look at that sweet face modeling the goodies!!
I was lucky enough to have Ali come for a visit one Sunday afternoon over the summer.  We spent hours and hours digging through bead containers.  She was absolutely chocked full of great ideas and wanted to try all sorts of techniques...we went through lots of beading wire and came up with some really awesome pieces.  We even came up with something her brother liked...and that's a pretty big deal.

So, Ali, I hope you guys have a fantastic holiday and I can't wait for you to come visit next summer so we can play again!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Art Bead Ornament Blog Hop!

It's 4 December.
It's Tuesday.
I love art beads.
I love fondling art beads.
I fondled art beads over the weekend.
Roger, my couch, missed me.

Now see my Art Bead Ornament Hop contribution...featuring a succulent Alice St. Germain glass focal...

Notice the super-fancy arrangement in front of the blinds in my office.  
I like being able to ooooh and aaaah at it while tramping through emails that go nowhere.

Here's the original bead...

There's more art bead joy to be seen...check them out...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pic Me Up: A Stroll in Williamsburg

It was the perfect day for a walk in Colonial Williamsburg yesterday. 
Here are a few of my favorite shots...
A door full of seen from the middle of the street.


Yum, num, juicy pomegranate

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Beauty in the Morning

Man.  I love my iPhone.
I love hiking with my nephews.
I love dew.
I love the smell of wet, fallen, brown leaves.
I wonder how much more money I can spend on camera parts and software!  haaaaaaaaaaaa
I love my parents' house.
I love cold.
I love cozy couches.
I love vacationing at home.
I am very thankful.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Still Rockin'

Life is good!

I have been busy living it!

I really can't apologize for not posting on my blog, since that's against the unspoken/unwritten code of bloggers to never feel guilty.  Ooops, just wrote that!  But, I got a wonderfully sweet email from an old friend/artisan-mentor of mine because she was worried about me as my on-line presence has been so slight.  Man, oh, man, I can't even tell you how much it meant to me to hear from her!  She taught me the joys of polymer clay and experimentation that has carried through all my creative endeavors.

So, a few updates.  I have been busy with my hands.  I love the feel of fiber on my fingers.  I found this fabulous lumpy bumpy yarn while shopping in San Antonio over Memorial Day weekend and have since gone on-line and found a dozen different colorways.  I also joined and found this fabulous pattern from Cocoknits that I've made over and over.  This colorway is called Wildflowers and it's my favorite:

Then I found my way to this Malabrigo Rasta yarn.  It's literally so luxurious and luscious you'll want to lick it!!!  I found a lovely pattern on Ravelry, here and tried it.  Then, I realized I'm a COMPLETE nerd because I actually successfully modified the pattern to do it in the round!  Both of my grandmothers would be so proud! 
 My constant companions are around helping me stay motivated...Frankie and Brando are the best.  I have to pick all the white hairs out of every finished project, but I still love having them snuggled around while I work.
I have a few more stories to tell, but I need to get back to another project while watching random TV shows taped from weeks ago.

Much love and inspiration to all of you!!!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Playtime with JJ's Journal

Yes, this is a blog hop, but it's also a chance for me to ramble since I've been feeling crummy all week and haven't really been off my couch other than for a few hours at work.  While on the couch yesterday I thumbed through my Crafter's Devotional (I'll refer to it as CD365 from now on).  I actually keep the book nearby here in the living room all the time because it's fun to just pick pages at random and see what ideas come up. 

CD365 came into my life as a gift from Elisabeth, a fellow Air Force Officer/Craftisan.  She also included a big, blank journal.  Well, normally a blank journal would excite me with the paper...since I just love stacks and stacks of paper, but I think journals are also very intimidating.  They're supposed to be full of perfect creative ideas, right?  I mean, how many journals and notebooks do you have sitting around that you expected to be wonderful works of expressive beauty and outlets for your passion?  haaaaaaaaaaaaaa  One of the big things in CD365 is to encourage journaling, uh oh.

BUT, once I changed my expectations about my big journal and gave myself permission to just jack it up and have fun and not expect big mental breakthroughs, I actually started having some fun.  I started with just a black pen...kept it limited, but not too limited.  Then, in anticipation of this post, I tried a few more "mixed media" pages, even though I'm totally intimidated by OPP (other peoples' pages) that I see in magazines and workshops.  

This picture, that I took while at the beach back in August makes me soooooooo happy.  I actually danced around when I saw it on my phone!  I printed a copy of the shot and then scotched taped into "the book."  Then, I sat outside in front of my building on the curb drinking a soda and drawing.  I played around trying to make my own fancy fonts.  I need to play more with those.  

Then, back in the house, I wanted to do something else with color.  Since I slept all afternoon in a cold medicine fog, I had plenty of energy late in the evening so I figured I'd break out some new watercolors.
And now there's a big wrinkly colorful page in my journal!!
It's crazy to me that I was so averse to getting the paper wet and letting it wrinkle.  Now, I'm all excited because when I flip through the book there's actually some texture and color.  I want more of that!  So, today I'm going to head out and take a big bag of markers with my book and see what happens.  It's not all deep and meaningful, but it makes me happy.  :)

And, to see stories of how CD365 is influencing some other lives, here's a list of blogs to check out:

~ Elisabeth (She's the one who started me off with the big blank book! Thanks, E!)

~ Beth

Saturday, August 25, 2012

BSBP Reveal!

Without further are my Bead Soup goods:
First, I loved up on that big-ass gorgeous focal from my partner, Bianca.  It was a raucously colorful piece, so I wasn't sure exactly which way to go.  I spent a few nights pulling beads out of the stash trying to find the perfect combination, but wasn't satisfied with any of them.  They didn't let the focal sing the way I wanted.
So, while sitting and crocheting with some fat yarn, I realized that I could find some fat yarn to go with the bead.  Then, I could figure out how to make a big, dramatic pin to adorn a hat or scarf.  After wandering through Michael's late on a Saturday night trying to find the perfect background for this glasperlen, I picked this subtle blue that picks out the highlights from the cool colors of the bead and accents the warm colors....
I used a big, blunt safety pin that I found in a hardware store bin.  I think the size of the steel pin is perfect for the size of the focal.  It can be used up on the hat or, if I get another Michael's coupon, it could be used on a matching scarf!

Since the BSBP rules say that I have to use both the focal and the clasp (but not necessarily in the same piece), I went a different direction with the pretty silver heart-shaped hook and eye clasp that Bianca chose...yes.  They're earrings!  I turned the clasp into two cute little pendants and made earrings!!
I snipped off the hook and eye from the clasp pieces, filed off the rough spots, and then strung them with some wonderful lampworked glass from Bianca and another of my favorite artists, Heather at HMB Studios.
So, what do you think?  Did I go far enough out of the soup box?  haaaaaaaaaaaaaa

This is the third of three reveals, so there's a nice list of goodness that you can tour around and see today.  Here are links to all of them!

First, you have to go see my partner Bianca:

Bianca Odenthal, Zydies Glasperlen

Then, you can head out and see the rest!!!

Hostess, Lori Anderson, Pretty Things

Agi Kiss, Moonsafari Beads 
Alice Peterson, Alice Dreaming
Alison Sachs, Beads by Earthtones
Amanda Dittloff, Passion Smashin'
Andra Marasteanu, Bijoux de Monanage
Angie Szlovak, SweetBeads
Anitra Gordy, Leelu Creations
Ann Sherwood, Ann's Blog
Arlene Dean, A Glass Bash
Audrey Belanger, Dreams of an Absolution
Barb Solem, Vivi Magoo Presents
Barbara Blaszczyk, laboratorim Flory
Bianca Odenthal, Zydies Glasperlen
Birgit Klughardt, GitesBeads
Bobbie Rafferty, Beadsong Jewelry
Bonnie Coursolle,  Jasper Gems
Cece Cormier, The Beading Yogini
Charlene Jacka, Clay Space
Cherrie Fick, En La Lumie're
Cheryl Foiles, Get Your Bead On
Christie Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry
Christina Miles, Wings n Scales
Christina Stofmeel, Feng Beads
Christine Stonefield, Sweet Girl Design
Cindy Cima Edwards, Live to Design
CJ Bauschka, 4 His Glory Creations
Claire Smith, Embergrass Jewelry
Cynthia Riggs, Cynth's Blog
Dawn Pierro, Turtle Moon Designs
Dee Elgie, Cherry Obsidia
Donetta Farrington, Simply Gorgeous
Dot Lewallwn, Speedie Beadie
Elizabeth Bunn, Elizabeth Beads
Evelyn Duberry, Sheba Makeda
Fay Wolfenden, Torch Fairy
Geneva Collins, Torque Story
Grace Dorsey, Fan of the Flame
Gretchen Nation,  Art Food Lodging
Hannah Annear, Squintessential
Heather Goldsmith, As I Bead It
Heather Otto, The Craft Hopper
Heidi Kingman, My Bead Therapy
Hope Smitherman, Crafty Hope
Isolina Perez, Isolina Perez
Jacqueline Keller, CreARTelier
Janeen Sorensen, Wild Vanilla Designs
Jean Peter, Jean P. Designs
** You're here.  :)  Jennifer Judd, Jen Judd Rocks
Jennifer L Justman, Soul's Fire Designs
Joanna Matuszczyk, Bizuteria z filcu
Joanne Brown, Jo's Jewels
Joanne Lockwood, Jo Bunkum
Joyce Becker, Joyce's Joyful Gems
Judy Riley, Three Red Beads
Karen Mitchell, Over the Moon Design
Karen Williams, Baublicious
Karin von Hoeren, Creative Ideen
Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
Kate Richbourg, We Can Make That at Home
Katrin Lembke, AllesPerle
Kathy Combs, Torched in Texas
Kathy Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz
Kelly Hosford Patterson, Traveling Side Show
Klaudette Koon, Only Road
Lara Lutrick, Lampwork Beads by Lara
Laura Guenther, Blue Antiquities
Laurie Lalonde, HourGlass Studio
Lilik Kristiani, Soul of My Embodiment
Linda Younkman, Lindy's Designs
Lisa Chapman, Beach Cat Beads
Loretta Carstensen, Designs by Loretta
Lori Bergmann, Lori Bergmann Design
Lupe Meter, Gem's PC Corner
Lynn Davis, LLYYNN
Malin de Koning, Beading by Malin
Mandi Effron, Craft-o-licious
Mandy Williamson, Mimi's Beading
Margot Potter, The Impatient Crafter
Maria Rosa Sharrow, Willow Street Shops
Marianne Baxter, Simply Seablime Jewelry
Marina Dobrynina, Savon Feutre
Marjolein Trewavas, Room for Change
Marelene Cupo, Amazing Designs
Marsha Neal, Marsha Neal Studio
Marta Kaczerowska, uhuhu
Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes
Menka Gupta, Menka's Jewelry Blog
Michelle Burnett, Reverie and Revival
Michelle Escano-Caballero, The Cabby Crafter
Miko Wiropati, Uniquely Yunikua
Mimi Gardner, Other Curiosities
Miranda Ackerley, MirandackArts
Natalie McKenna, grubbi
Noemi Baena, fuego, metal, y color
Pam Ferrari, Ferrari Originals
Penny Neville, Copper Penny
Rachel Baron, R. Baron Designs
Rachel Myers, Rockabead Jewelry
Rebecca Anderson, Song Beads
Rebecca Sirevaag, Becca's Place
Riki Schumacher, Riki Jewelry
Rose Binoya, Ahtee's Blog
Rossana De Gaspari, Rdegas Blog
Sally Anderson, Wild Sally Road
Sandi James, Do Be Do Bead Do
Sandi Volpe, Sandi Volpe
Sandra Wollberg, City of Brass Stories
Sarah Small, blog by salla
Shai Williams, Shaiha's Ramblings
Sheryl Stephens, Babble Bead
Shiraz Biggie, Secret Song Designs
Solange Collin,  Ahowin Handcrafted Jewelry
Sonya Stille, Dreamin' of Beads
Stephanie Dixon, The Dixon Chick
Susan Kennedy, Sue Beads
Susan Sheehan, Strands of Thought
Suzann Sladcik Wilson, Beadphoria
Sweet Freedom, Sweet Freedom Designs
Tabatha Dinger, Modernly Created
Tanya Boden, Fusion Muse
Terry Carter, Tapping Flamingo
Tracy Stillman, Tracy Stillman Designs

Monday, August 20, 2012

BSBPartiers - Bianca & Jen

Back in July, I got matched up for the Bead Soup Blog Party with lovely glass bead artist Bianca Odenthal.  I wrote about our initial matchup here.

Well, Bianca's from Germany, so I had the extra coolness of getting a package that looks all "foreign" and interesting...
She set me up with a wonderful little box of beauties, including this pretty postcard and a beautiful little box holding her handmade glass beads. 
 Look at that pretty artwork on the bookmark!  And, I was thrilled to find my own Zydies Glasperlen treasures inside...

Bianca posted a better picture of that big focal bead on her blog here.

Our reveal is this Saturday, the 25th, along with the rest of the, come back and see how I used this big beauty in a bit of a different way.  Just a hint...I've been into knitting and crochet lately, so I had to follow that path a bit...hmmmmm...can you guess what I made?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Making wishes

It's very rare that I sit still.  Well, I guess I have to qualify that and say that when I do sit still, I usually end up falling asleep.  Apparently my way of coping with life changes and dealing with stress is to keep my hands full.  Literally.  They're full of yarn, wire, beads, material, or even my keyboard.  It's not a bad thing, I guess, because I love feeling productive and making things that are pretty or interesting or sometimes even both. 

But, I think I need to learn how to be more peaceful.  I need to be more comfortable just sitting and not doing anything.  So, that's what I'm going to wish for this evening.  I suppose I should put the computer away and turn off the TV.  

I wish for personal peace.

Have you wished for anything lately? 

(p.s. this is my sweet nephew, Austin, whose wish for candy came true, as you can see by the smears of yummy on his face!)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Kiersten Giles Cone Challenge Reveal!

A few weeks ago I was selected to participate in a little blog challenge...and today's the big reveal day!  The centerpieces for the adventure are these handmade copper cones from Kiersten Giles of The Cerebral Dilettante blog fame.

Prolific inspirer and fellow blogger, Lorelei, picked five of us, plus herself, to push the limits of cone creativity.  They're a pretty standard component in jewelry, especially in multi-strand pieces.  So, it was time to think about cones differently...the gauntlet she threw at us was all about unique!!!!'s my take...

I immediately noticed the gently folded edge along the top of the etched copper and thought of rolled paper.  That led me to a cone reversal so that instead of something flowing out of the cone, I'd have something flow up... a farmer's market bouquet!  You can see some of my sketches at an earlier post here.
This first piece isn't so much jewelry as it is a little decorative ornament that could hang somewhere to liven up a space with sweet little copper and brass flowers and tendrils in a perfect copper "vase."

I have somehow managed to accumulate a massive stash of tiny flower pieces so I went to town with them and a variety of brass and copper headpins and created a bunch of different flowers by layering the little components along with some metal spacers.  I didn't want to create massive wire-wrapped stems, so I opted for some heavy duty glue to keep the flowers together at the ends of the headpins.  Just in case you try some windows when you work with glue or you'll have a mysterious headache for two days...haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

I was digging through my "scrap" wire container looking for small pieces to make spirals and happened upon a bunch of copper and brass that I had used to practice "balling" with my microtorch.  Because I was going for a rustic mix of metals, the odd fired finish at the ends was perfect for more tendril-looking spirals.

My second cone was destined for a similar treatment but with a little bit of a different became a pendant:

I used a silver pendant "blank" and glued the cone in place.  I used some clear glue (less fumes, since I figured that drama out) to fill in and create a kind of resin background.

Then, I added the flower bouquet!  A few sets of leaves from my "metal component" stash drawer rounded out the little nosegay. 

With a simple little copper ball chain, it's a really pretty accent to a plain white t-shirt!  The flower stems are all attached to a base wrapped loop, so they can actually be rearranged within the cone/vase.

Here's a shot of the working stems as I tried to decide how many to use and create the varied heights that would make the bouquet look balanced and unique.

And, there you have it!  Cones on the up instead of the down!!!  

I was thinking as I made this that I should do a tutorial...if you think that's a good idea, let me know in the comments and I'll work on some pictures of the in-construction piece so you can see how it all came together.  :)

And, now to point you in the direction of my fellow cone-ites for today's challenge reveal:

The host:
Lorelei Eurto at her Blog

The Crazier Sister at Crazy Creative Corner

BeadBug at Copper Glass and Recycled Trash

Yay!Jewelry at the YaY! Jewelry blog

Lori Michaud at the Artfully Ornamental blog

Thanks for stopping by!  

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fabric. Dye. Love.

Bright colors make me happy.
Goodwill scores make me happy.
Ergo creating bright colors on "gently used" white t-shirts and clothes makes me happy.

It's not exactly tie-dying, but "scrunch" dying, according to the tutorial I used to create these babies.  I found it on the Dharma Trading Co. website while shopping around for fabric art things I don't need.  There's another type of application called "ice dying" that I really want to try, but I haven't gotten the  large tubs that I'll need to keep it from making a disaster in my tiny apartment.  The managers are gonna love it when they see my carpet upon move out...when I eventually get to leave...haaaaaaaaaaa
Anyway, this is a bunch of fiber reactive dye that my mom gave me as a treat for my birthday (She's very good with the wishlist!)  combined with lots of white "things" that I picked up at a few local thrift shops.  They're all prepped with the special detergent and jammed into cups and containers.
 Because there's a lot of powder involved, I had to wear protection.  The mask and gloves make it feel much more "official."  Official what?  I'm not sure.
Here's a stack of goods after they've been dyed and rinsed once but before they've been washed in the special detergent that takes out all the extra dye molecules.  (I love that I can use the word molecules in a sentence on my blog.)
And here are some results!  A very earthy t-shirt...I gave it to my trainer in return for kicking my ass.  :)
And a cute little girl's shirt
And a funky pattern of pink and purple that I love...on a t-shirt, I think.
I did a bunch of little onesies and baby t-shirts...they're so cute and mini!!!  My friend, Meghan, is, thankfully, having a baby girl any day now so they have someplace to go.
And, finally, my XL t-shirt that I cut and turned into a little summer infinity scarf!  I made a few and love them all...need to find some bigger t-shirts since they make the best circles.  XXL = bigger infinity.
I have scads more "whites" that are dying to be colorful....haaaaaaaaa  But, I have to wait for my third box of colors to come in from Dharma.  It's gotten to the point of ordering five or so new colors every week.  And, I've only had two sessions of dying.  I'm going with some more blues next time...stay tuned!


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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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