Here's a new pendant design from me - a floating box within a box. I actually made this for my mother, to put a photo of the Short One in the center. When she sort of indicated to me, "Why would I wear something like that?", I tried filling it with sea glass instead. I kind of like it this way - what do you think?
However, on a whim, I cut out a teenie photo of the SO and stuck it in the box to see how it looked (very cute) - and Mom was so smitten with it that I guess it's going home with her after all. Tsk. Mothers.
The next time I make one of these (and there will be a next time - I like the way this came out), I think I'm going to make it reversible, with a square frame on the back for a slightly larger photo. Then I'll fill the front with the sea glass...
I have a new necklace project in the Fall 2009 issue of Stringing Magazine, using my Autumn Tree Pendant. It's available on newsstands October 6th.
On other fronts, while the Short One was at pre-school, I spent some time cleaning out my workspace in the garage (I have annexed about 60% of H's bench space over the past couple years - I am aiming for 80%, but don't tell him that), for the first time in about a year. Definitely painful. However, I can now see the (fireproof) surface of the counter. Hip-hip-hooray, as the SO would say.
Okay, I started writing this post around 3pm and it is now 8pm - and I've written maybe half a sentence in the past 2 hours. I think it's time to surrender. I have new work, a goodie bag from Rings & Things and Friendly Plastic in cool colors (there's a great design challenge going on for that material) in my pile of interesting stuff, but right now I think I have to obey the laws of physics and be hauled off by the little hand that's been tugging at my sleeve for the past ten minutes. Good night all. Thanks for visiting.
Hi, there. I hope everyone had a great weekend. We had an action-packed two days in our neck of the woods, visiting the Kohl's Children's Museum (our favorite children's museum out of all of the ones we frequent - the exhibits are great and they have plenty of staff on hand to ensure the exhibits are all tidy and in working order for the kids). The Short One ended up getting drenched in the water room by an older boy who created a huge wave in the sailboat pool, which was a little demoralizing for him, but it wasn't anything a grilled cheese sandwich, pickle and cookie couldn't fix afterward.
The Short One's grandmother, who is visiting, offered to babysit Saturday night, so H. and I ended up getting tickets to the Lifeline Theater's production of "Treasure Island". For the record, we love Lifeline productions.
A friend introduced us to the company back in the late 90's when they were doing the Lord of the Rings trilogy (before the movies came out) - we saw productions of "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King" there. The adaptations were completely brilliant, making creative use of marionettes and miniatures (for the big battle scenes). The best part was probably the Matrix-esque fight sequences that used cast members in black costumes as sort of springboards off of which the actual members involved in the fight performed their acrobatics (it's difficult to describe - sort of like Japanese puppet theater, where the puppet masters perform in full sight of the audience but wearing black clothes to become "invisible").
Anyway, "Treasure Island" was entertaining, although bloodier and more amoral than I was expecting (I don't recall every reading the story as a child). (One scene where the doctor "bleeds" a patient made H. mutter about modern medical practices.) It did make me want to sing sea shanties and growl "arrr, ye swab" all evening.
We finished up the weekend with a trip to the Botanic Garden (why do I always forget to take my camera when we go there?). The roses were still in bloom in the rose garden and, even though I thought it would be too late in the year, we saw the most spectacular lotus blossoms in the reflecting pools.
On the bead front, I have a load of silver ready for the kiln and will actually have a few new items to show for it this week. After that, I'm down to my last 10g of metal clay, though, until the new shipment arrives.
Here are your bead and jewelry links for the week:
(Okay, okay - I realize the title of this post is not grammatically correct - but I couldn't figure out a better way to put it. Now on to the good stuff:)
Anyone who has read this blog for any appreciable amount of time (whatever that is) will know that I am a big fan of Sarah Moran's work. I love substantial beads, bold colors and cool, geometric designs - and her work has all of that and more. Her Smooch! bead has always been a favorite of mine. One of the first necklaces I ever made, "Charmed Kiss", incorporated a Smooch! into the focal:
(You can tell this is an older piece due to the terrible, lo-res photo - one of these days I will re-photograph this piece...) Did I mention that her vibrant colors just knock me out?
(Note the super-cute fish-tail toggle in this gorgeous pile.) What you may not know is that Sarah has been writing interesting, amusing and sometimes entertainingly acerbic updates through her website for several years. Due to what may laughingly be called the march of progress (also sometimes known as technology run amok - I can hear S. snorting while she reads this), Sarah has decided to abandon this format and start a blog. How fabulous. How wonderful. (How completely unexpected!)
It's brand new, but I already know that it will be something to watch (and read). I highly recommend that you pay a visit by going here. What are you waiting for? Go! Go now!
Finally, new work! A while ago, I was invited by the good folks at Artbeads.com to sample some of their extensive collection of Swarovski crystal beads. While I was highly tempted to try one of the gorgeous Swarovski crystal pendants (I am a big fan of the coral-shaped pendants), I decided it was time to dust off an idea I had jotted down in my book a couple years ago - a necklace made from the vibrant colors of a sunset.
Artbeads.com has such a beautiful assortment of colors to choose from - it made putting this part of the design together quite easy. For this choker, I used Hyacinth, Light Siam, Siam, Cobalt Blue, Dark Sapphire, Dark Indigo and Purple Velvet 4mm bicones.
I originally envisioned a simple double-stranded necklace of graduated sunset colored crystal combined with simple onyx beads - no swag, no ornamentation, just very, very plain. However, once I finished wire-wrapping these beads and put them together with the onyx, the whole effect was just too dark. I tried garnet next, but the dark red shade of my beads didn't make the crystal pop very effectively. I was a little surprised to discover that these copper rose potato pearls worked quite well (in my opinion, at least) with the range of orange, red, blue and purple crystal beads. I created a simple swag out of my crystal chain, added two mocca round Swarovski crystals to "cap" the pearls, and then I did finish my choker with faceted onyx and one of Robert Jennick's simple sterling clasps.
It's certainly satisfying to get an idea that has been languishing in my notebook into the real world. I think this color combination is very versatile and could make, for example, beautiful waterfall-style earrings or a very pretty cocktail ring. I am extremely happy with the way this necklace turned out and highly recommend checking out Artbeads.com selection of Swarovski crystal.
Over this past weekend, I found both design inspiration and practical instruction in an unexpected place. This happy circumstance was all due to the fact that we were low on rice, sesame oil and a few other essentials (in this household, at least) and ended up visiting Mitsuwa Marketplace. If you are fortunate enough to live near a Mitsuwa (I believe there are four in the U.S. - two in California, one in New Jersey and one in Illinois) but have never visited it, I highly recommend a trip. It's sort of a mini-mall - a really nice Japanese grocery with bakery, a food court serving various types of Japanese food (ours used to also offer Korean but now offers Chinese instead) and various small businesses - ours currently has a Japanese ceramics shop, a sweets shop, a travel agency specializing in Asia, a video store (which ditto) and a bookstore.
Despite my inability to read Japanese (I can pick out a short word here and there but that's about it), the lure of books is always irresistible to me. While the Short One was distracted by a cone of soft serve green tea ice cream, I ended up sneaking around the corner after lunch to Books Sanseido. I decided to check out the craft section of the store in a fit of optimism. Because I am not a beadweaver, I wasn't actually expecting to find much that I could use, but surprise, surprise - I ended up walking out with the above purchases. The larger booklet is pretty self-explanatory - it's a nice little exposition on ring-making with PMC3 with very clear photographs.
The smaller book is the one I find terribly interesting. It's part of a "Traditional Japanese Patterns" series. There were four volumes available in the store, all filled with renderings of some of the gorgeous embroidered designs found in Japanese textiles. These are truly lovely books. I looked through all four and ended up purchasing volume 2. Here are a couple examples of patterns in the one I brought home:
In addition to the Japanese text in the book, there is an introduction to the book written in English placed at what would be the beginning of a Western book (and the end of a Japanese book) which is quite handy and suggests, of course, that the book was published in part for Western consumption. However, I seriously doubt you would be able to find these volumes on the shelf of an American bookstore.
So our little shopping trip this weekend was a reminder to me - and a suggestion to you - that investigating places such as foreign language bookstores can yield unexpected benefits. I am not well-educated in such traditional Japanese designs, but I have always loved the ones I have encountered from time to time. I am extremely happy to be able to add this collection of motifs to my small - but growing - design library.
Oh, and, by the way, if you are interested in this particular series of books, the collection was created by the textile company Kurenai-kai and published by Seigensha Art Publishing, Inc.
It's getting to be that time of year again... Of the many projects I pushed aside last week that I urgently have to get back to, designing my son's Halloween costume is near the top of the list. I've vowed to continue knitting his costumes until he finds homemade costumes embarrassing (I'm sure that day will come - I'm just not sure when). I try to make them as functional as possible, so he can wear them after the event. Here's the one of a certain favorite monster I made two years ago that was quite successful. After Halloween, he was able to wear the hat all winter, and I simply changed out the cookie buttons on the sweater to nice leather ones, and that lasted all winter, too.
This year, he's announced that he wants to be Robin Hood. This will entail an (easy and) nice green vest and, if I have time, a quiver of arrows with a little satchel for gold coins, but I'm tearing my hair out trying to design a nice hat for the costume. Anyone know of any knitting patterns for Robin Hood hats? If not, I guess I'll have no choice but to (grumble, grumble) get out the graph paper... I was so hoping he'd want to be a Viking this year (I want to knit horns! I want to knit horns!), but I don't think he quite yet grasps what a Viking is...
For once, I'm timely on my beady links. Enjoy, everyone:
I guess when you get right down to it, although I feel that my style has evolved over the past couple years working with metal clay, I just fundamentally like the idea of small boxes filled with bits of...stuff. As everyone in my family will tell you, I am a collector by nature, so perhaps the boxes are just an expression of this aspect of my personality.
Anyway, here's another iteration of a treasure box pendant. This one is pretty simple - I turned one of my Sea Change pendants into a small box - here's the reverse side of the above photo:
Actually, I am completely out of epoxy right now - and the place I usually buy it from is closed for Rosh Hashanah - so I haven't set the tiny pebbles in the top photo. (It's just as well - I think I'm going to remove the bit of sea glass - the color just seems a little too jarring next to all of those nice earthy tones.) They are part of the mass of stones that the Short One and I happily collected on the shores of Lake Michigan this summer. The pendant is reasonably small (for me, at least) at approximately 1.25" x 1.5", including bail. I think it will make a nice reversible piece once it's finished. I suspect the stones will look good strung with either wooden or coconut shell beads (or both).
Hello, there. How have you been? When we arrived back home from our Labor Day weekend vacation, it became very clear to me that I would not be able to finish a project I've been working on for the past several months by my deadline if I didn't drop everything else I had on my plate immediately. Which I did. And, operating as I do firmly under Murphy's Law, I still just barely finished. If it hadn't been for my mother, who came back with us and helped me take care of the Short One, I never would have made it. One of these days I will transform into an organized person who can plan ahead effectively, but it's uphill going, working against the tendency toward entropy that I have perfected over the past four decades.
While I work through my hugey backpile of stuff (it's amazing how much accumulates if you look the other way for a few days, eh?), I have two things to share today. First, here's a drop-dead gorgeous strand of rough-cut rose quartz and smoky quartz wheels I picked up at the Intergem show in Chicago last month. Not only was the strand a nice find, the couple who sold it to me, TJ and Gloria, were lovely people - which is always a plus, in my books. Does anyone else attend Intergem (in one or another of its iterations throughout the country)? I don't attend every show (I believe it visits Chicago about five times a year), but I try to go at least twice a year.
Second, in case you have not already heard, Andrew Thornton is holding a Big Sale with tons of treasure to be added over the next couple weeks, including this beautiful bauble constructed from PMC and fine silver wire, with a classic inside-out boro dot bead by artist Shannon Hill:
We spent an extended Labor Day weekend at my folks' house. It was the first time we'd visited in a couple years, so to it was basically a brand-new experience for the Short One. I'm happy to report that the SO quite satisfactorily ran his grandparents into a state of complete exhaustion while I got in some quality nap-time (unfortunately, like an idiot, I failed to bring enough head pins with me to complete my project and was unable to obtain more while there).
For myself, there are a few objects from my youth that my parents are still hanging onto for me, including the above. As a child, I was never a girly-girl, but I did love unicorns and had quite a collection of them. My Dad found this one at a gallery on Bourbon Street in New Orleans back in the 1970s and brought it home for me. It's made of some kind of very light wood. I don't dare have it in my house now, as I think it would be broken into tiny pieces by the little tornado that lives here, but it was nice seeing it. I've been vaguely thinking that I should find a gryffon or lion or something to keep it company.
I hope everyone else had a good weekend. Here are my ever-late links for the week:
Jean Campbell Jean's got a cool job--check out what she's been working on!
Jewelry & Beading Cyndi shares another CopprClay project, which includes making your own mold!
I had so hoped to finish this piece before Labor Day weekend, and it's so very clear to me now that it's just not going to get done. Argh. Artbeads.com has such a beautiful selection of colors in Swarovski crystal. I thought I'd at least show off what I acquired and what I'm working on before I head off for my holiday. The piece WILL be finished next week. I intend to let the Short One run his grandparents ragged while I sit in the corner and bead. It's my proposed strategy at least.
I hope everyone has a great weekend.
ADDENDUM: I just found out that Artbeads.com is offering a 20% off coupon valid over Labor Day Weekend. There are requirements: a $60.00 minimum purchase and you have to sign up for their newsletter. However, the coupon code is good for anything in the store. Like their beautiful hand-painted Russian pendants, for example (drool, drool). Go here if you are interested in signing up for the newsletter.
I'm finding it increasingly difficult to get anything done these days. Well, except paint and make cupcakes out of Play Doh (I make very attractive Play Doh cupcakes, if I say so myself). The Short One starts pre-school in two weeks. He'll only be attending a few days a week part-time, but I'm already wondering what I'm going to do with all of that free time.
Anyway, here are your super-late links for the week:
I am an intellectual property lawyer by training and have a background in English Renaissance literature. I love science fiction. I primarily watch Sesame Street these days and find myself humming "Pop Goes the Weasel" at odd moments (guess why). I can happily eat ice cream in the middle of winter when the wind chill is 20 below 0. I have been making beads and designing jewelry since 2007.
2010 - Winner, First Place, British Bead Awards, Other Finished Bead Jewellery 2010 - Winner, Second Place, British Bead Awards, Metal Clay Jewellery 2010 - Winner, Second Place, Bead Dreams, Metal Clay
2010 - Grand Prize, Gold Medal Winner, Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, Metal Clay, Metal Beads, Wirework and Chain Jewelry-Making Contest
2010 - Finalist, Bead Star, Stones, Plastics and Designs with Heart Categories
2009 - Winner, First Place, British Bead Awards, Metal Clay
2009 - Winner, Second Place, British Bead Awards, Beyond Glass, Handmade Beads and Components
2009 - Winner, Second Place, Bead Arts Awards, Necklace
2009 - Finalist, Bead Dreams, Metal Clay
2008 - Finalist Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Beading Contest, Metal Clay
2008 - Finalist, Bead Star, Pearls
A quick note
Welcome to my blog (my "virtual home") and thanks for visiting. I love to hear from people, so please do feel free to leave comments. I'm also quite open to friendly discussions and even constructive criticism. Please note, however, that I will not approve of any rudeness or profanity here and any comments containing same will be deleted. Thank you!
A word about copyright
As indicated in the copyright notice, the contents of this blog are copyright by me. To the extent that instructions to make jewelry, beads, knit items or other instructions are included in this blog, they are free for you to use to make the projects for personal use. They should not be used for commercial purposes, ie, to make items for resale.