What the heck - I decided at the last minute to hold a sale. 30% off everything in my Etsy store (including the above ruby, amber, wood and - of course- fine silver necklace that appears in the Fall 2009 issue of Stringing) through Tuesday, December 1st. I can't remember the last time I held a store-wide sale, but I've been so disorganized about every aspect of the holiday this year (alas), and it seems like a good thing to do.
Sale prices apply only to in-stock items (prices have already been changed to reflect the discount on my listings). Why not take a look? At the very least, it should make a restful change from elbowing through the crowds at the mall. Thanks for your time!
Or if you don't feel like shopping right now, here are your intriguing beady links for the week:
Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! Ah, Etsy! So many of our problems solved by visiting Etsy for gifts for our dearest friends at this time of year. Take a look at this premade pendant, which also comes in a kit so you can teach yourself if you prefer. It's all jump rings and it's all beautiful. The Alchemist's Star!
Beading Arts Cyndi shares some simple CopprClay pendants that you can have ready in time for holiday gift-giving!
Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Melanie gives her review of Enchanted Adornments, and gives a reminder to enter teh Art Bead Scene monthly challenge for your chance to win a copy of it and some other great beads, including new Earthenwood beads!
Strands of Beads Melissa is thankful for generous friends - who share their beading supplies!
Hear ye, hear ye: Artbeads.com is having a three-day After-Thanksgiving sale - 20% off, storewide, until 9:00am (PST) Monday, November 30, 2009.
Even though I just came back from our Thanksgiving holiday break with a boatload of new materials, I succumbed and bought this pendant that I've been drooling after since the summer. It's one of the lovely hand-painted Russian onyx ones. This particular pendant is based on Picasso's The Dream. It was a tough call between the above and one of the beautiful Murano glass beads that the store now carries, though.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I have had a $20.00 gift certficate, courtesy of Artbeads.com, sitting in my drawer for the past few weeks. Throw in the 20% discount, and the usual free shipping from Artbeads.com - well, the stars just aligned. Ahem.)
Perhaps it would be a good time to pick up components to make holiday gifts? (Or is it just me that's horribly behind in getting ready for Christmas?)
Kate McKinnon had this super-cool Moon bead on her blog (I can't seem to hot-link to the post but it's dated Nov 19th - well worth the look if you like metal clay (and if you don't, what are you doing reading this?)), and it made me think of my, well, significantly cruder prototype Saturn bead that I made in 2008 and meant to re-work (really truly, no foolin'). Being the geek that I am, I do love astronomy themes. Back in 2008, I had Ambitions to do more space beads, and well, it's on my list for 2010. Including revisiting Saturn. But here's the prototype in the meantime.
I'm taking next week off to spend time with family and friends over Thanksgiving. I hope everyone has a great holiday! Before I go, here are your bead and jewelry links for the week:
...someone who will let you rummage around in their collection of sea glass. And select pieces for making jewelry.
I want to fool around a little more with the floating box-in-a-box design, but I really only had those three teenie pieces of sea glass. I knew one of my friends had collected some this summer while playing at the beach with her son, so I asked her if she'd be willing to give me a few pieces to use.
Well, she drove up to my car this morning, while I was dropping off the Short One at pre-school, said "Here" and handed me this huge-y jar. My heart skipped a beat. How beautiful is this, right? I'm busy going through it right now for some pieces small enough for pendants.
Thanks, Merrilu - you're a brick!
(Does anyone else have stories of beady generosity they'd like to share? It seems like a good time for it!)
Among the many interesting comments left for that post, Christine Ritchey advised me to keep any mold the dentist might make of my own teeth for future creative endeavors. (Christine, I thought to myself back then, you over-the-top artist, you.) However, I guess this thought stuck in my head. When I had to have a crown put in earlier this year, at the last minute I asked my dentist to give me the temporary after he'd taken it out. Our family dentist is such a nice man - instead of looking at me cross-eyed at such a request, he cheerfully said "I even have this nice box for you to keep it in!"
I must admit, although the vintage ceramic teeth didn't phase me a bit (in fact, I still think they are cool), I have not been able to bring myself to work with my own temporary crown. In fact, I am weirded out enough by it not to have opened the box since I brought it home from the dentist. I think the fact that it actually resided in a person's mouth for three weeks, even my own mouth, is giving me problems. So now this little box lurks in a dark corner of my stash. Waiting for just the right macabre turn of mind to be used, no doubt. For the moment, though, I avert my eyes and pretend it's not there whenever I open that particularly drawer!
(Oh, and as far as that nice, pristine set of ceramic teeth is concerned - I have used them, all of them, in a major piece of jewelry. I think they have that je ne sais quoi. I can't show the necklace to you right now, but probably in a couple months...)
Here's an example of what happens when I try to take photos for the blog when Certain People are awake and interested. Yeah. (By the way, in case you are wondering, these are components for hand puppets. Plus a foot.)
I'm happy to report that I'm feeling much better, so much so that I made it to (and survived, more or less) both the Greatest Show on Earth and Chuck E. Cheese this weekend. This was the Short One's first circus experience (and our first circus experience in about 35 years). Although he had a distressing tendency to become absorbed in his little circus light stick toy at pivotal moments of the show and commented afterward that his favorite part was watching the cotton candy sellers walk up and down the aisles, I think it was overall a successful outing. At least, by our standards.
So I'm feeling a little more optimistic at the start of this week. Who knows? Maybe I'll even get a little beading done. I hope you have a good week, too.
In the meantime, here are your bead and jewelry links for the week:
The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton Using a hand-painted Russian pendant from Artbeads.com, Andrew creates an enchanting response to Art Bead Scene's November prompt: Dadd's The Fairy Fellers' Master-Stroke.
Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! In the spirit of the season, whereby "you can get nything you want" as in the famous Alice's Restaurant song by Arlo, you can get some fascinating things at Andrew Thornton's store. Great for holidays to come!
Here's a simple necklace I made a while back with these groovy Chinese turquoise drums (I lucked out - I only had five of them and they balance perfectly, weight-wise) and my lunar phases donut. It wears quite nicely, if I may say so myself.
I've been wanting to do so much this past week and have accomplished pretty much nothing. This cold has been pretty pernicious - everyone in our house has recovered except me. I just can't seem to shake the bone-rattling cough I've developed. Argh. I've been doodling new ideas on a pad of paper from time to time, but that's it. I hope your week has been more productive than mine! Have a great weekend.
I'm still suffering from that hacking cough, so I'm up tonight. I found this tabbed on my husband's account and really enjoyed it (I presume he got it from Boing Boing or Neatorama), so I'm passing it along. This speaks to me on several different levels - I was a big Journey fan as a kid. Later on, as an undergraduate, I always enjoyed listening to the a capella groups that were popular on campus (there was nothing like listening to the Krock's rendition of Lehrer's "Masochism Tango" back then). Sam Tsui sings all parts here in this version of "Don't Stop Believing" and the video was produced by Kurt Schneider. Brilliant! (ps. They also do a mean Michael Jackson Medley, also available on YouTube.)
Yes, this is what it looks like - πtaken to eight decimal points. I made this "Piece of Pi" pendant and tucked it away in my Etsy store last year completely on a whim, thinking it would just sit around looking beautifully mathematical. So, of course, it sold almost immediately. I find it quite thrilling that there are actually other geeky, jewelry-loving people out there in the world. I've been thinking I might make a more complex version this year...
I hope everyone had a great weekend. Here are your new bead and jewelry links for the week:
So, I finally had a chance to sit down with my stash of Friendly Plastic, courtesy of the good folks at Amaco. As I mentioned earlier, although Friendly Plastic has been around for years, I'd never used the product. Playing with all of those mouth-wateringly bold colors was really appealing to me. Amaco offers significant product support for Friendly Plastic on their website, including a number of sample projects (of which my favorite is this one).
One thing I will say, having spent several hours with the product - it did take me a little practice to use it, even to create the simple graphic pendants I made for this post. Friendly Plastic becomes moldable when heated, but the melt point is low enough that it's easy for a neophyte like me to shoot past the target range and end up with a too-gooey substance. I think this is where the choice of heat source becomes crucial. I used my craft toaster oven, and I found it a real handicap not to be able to see how pliable the material was becoming in the heat without taking my non-stick sheet out of the oven every five seconds. I think an electric griddle (the recommended method for heating up Friendly Plastic) or a heat gun would be definitely preferable.
However, Friendly Plastic takes cutters beautifully, and it's a much more forgiving method of using the product with the toaster oven. Even if the plastic is quite soft, it will still take a cutter well (as long as you are careful to wait until the plastic cools to lift the cut-out from the non-stick sheet to avoid distortion). Given this, and - well, frankly - because the bright colors of plastic reminded me of superhero costumes, I decided to focus on creating some bold, colorful pendants with the material.
Because Friendly Plastic will bond to itself when heated, it is relatively easy to create nice inlay designs with the material. I wanted as little distortion as possible in my designs, so I did not completely inlay each of the pieces in these pendants. The UV resin I used to seal them - Lisa Pavelka's Magic-Glos - domed over the designs (with one exception, above, and I liked the paper-mache effect it gave the piece, so I did not apply a second coat), so the raised surface of the pendant really didn't affect the finished product.
My product samples are all metallic sticks (the material is also available in pellet form), but they are metallic only on one side. When I wanted a more matte-looking surface, I simply flipped them over (the blue moon, above, is an example of using the reverse side of a stick). I also discovered that, when I use the sticks in this way, and use cut-out pieces as inlay, the edges curl up just enough as it softens to create an interesting metallic border around the cut-out piece.
To finish the two pendants, I used bails from my stash that were provided to me earlier, courtesy of Rings & Things. I simply attached plastic button shanks to the other two. (By the way, in case you're wondering - it was quite easy to punch stringing holes in the Friendly Plastic, but I discovered after several aborted attempts that I could not cleanly drill through the Magic-Glos the way I would with other types of resin.) I think the Friendly Plastic colors look good strung with brightly colored lucite and resin beads. I also think these simple designs would make excellent, funky rings - just attach to ring blanks, and they're good to go!
Thank you to Amaco for giving me the opportunity to play with this fascinating product!
I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween yesterday. Robin Hood set out intrepidly to steal candy from the rich etc. last night. Apart from one incident involving our neighbor decked out as a 7-foot ghoul stalking the trick or treaters (the family had quite a set-up involving open coffins, lights and dry ice out on their front lawn - I haven't seen anyone get into the holiday so much since my own childhood), RH handled himself very well.
For my part, I decided to forgo my usual post at the door for ten minutes in favor of following RH and his Dad a few houses down the block. I left a bowl of candy at the front door and returned to a feeding frenzy of six-year-olds attacking the contents as if their lives depended on it. (I will say that, even though they didn't realize I was the owner of the bowl as I approached the house, they did leave three pieces.)
As you can see, above, the Short One made me a nice necklace to wear for Halloween - which, of course, I did!
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.