In case you don't already know - Andrew Thornton is currently holding a big studio sale. I didn't act fast enough and missed out on a beautiful Jeremy Sinkus jellyfish pendant, but as of the time I write this post, this beauty - from the early days of Green Girl Studios - is still available. Please someone save me from myself and buy this before I do! Go here to check out all of the goodies.
The Short One is truly on vacation this week, so we've been lounging around at home. We spent the morning dyeing paper. This project is one I remember doing when I was slightly older than the SO (although we used paper towels rather than coffee filters - I rather like the coffee filters). It was pretty satisfying (the SO loves messing with food coloring and mixing colors generally), but we did run out of space pretty quickly:
I'm sure this will be on our agenda again later this week.
Hope everyone else had a great weekend. Here are your links for the week:
My friend Mary-Ann wanted to make, or have her talented daughter Liz make, matching Dragon Heart earrings for the two of them. We discussed it and decided I would make a slightly larger version of the charm for necklaces to make the set complete. So the larger versions are about double the size of the original charm but still significantly smaller than my original Dragon Heart pendant. I think they're pretty cute as a set!
Thanks for the inspiration, M-A! (Tell Liz she has to send me pics once she finishes your jewelry!)
Here's another new entry in my book of charms. Images of Saturn are so beautiful and classic looking - I couldn't resist making it my third space-themed charm. (Erin Prais-Hintz has had this uncanny ability to read my mind when it comes to upcoming designs - she's done it at least three times in the past year. Each time I read one of her comments, my first response has been: "Shhhh! Don't tell anyone else - I'm not ready yet!" If you look at my earlier rocket ship charm post, you'll see she got me again. It did motivate me to finish up these charms, though. Thanks, Erin!)
Actually, this isn't the first Saturn bead I've made. This design - all of the space designs, really - date back to 2008, when I first had the idea to develop a line of space-themed beads. I did create this three dimensional Saturn back then, but, as usual, I got distracted and moved on to other projects.
I think these charms are a modest beginning in the right direction. Hopefully, I'll be continue down this road (including more of the larger, three dimensional Saturns) this year.
In the meantime, though, I'll enjoy these charms. I hope you do, too.
By the way, does anyone know the origin of the title of this post? It's a slight misquote of the title of one of my all-time favorite science fiction books from when I was a kid. I'm just wondering if there are any other fans out there!
I have to admit, when I started making the charms a couple weeks ago, I had a bit of a dilemma - keep my standard Priority Mail shipping for the charms or more over to First Class Mail? I really prefer Priority Mail - it's convenient and it's somewhat trackable. However, I was preparing to mail my winner's charm to her last night, and it just seemed like overkill to insist on boxing it up and sending it Priority. So, I'm going to try something different. For the time being, only the charms will carded and bagged, rather than boxed, and shipped via First Class in a padded envelope. We'll see how that works out.
If you are a designer or beadmaker, and are willing to share your opinion, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on how you handle shipping.
No matter how many years pass, I can never get over how beautiful the water lilies look at this time of year. Because I am a local, I tend to take the Chicago Botanic Garden a bit for granted and hardly ever remember to bring my camera with me when I visit. I took it with me for the kite festival last weekend and actually remembered to snap photos of a few of my favorites from the garden as well.
Here's a little visual inspiration for you - aren't they stunning? It makes me want to run out and create water-themed pieces.
Here's a pic of last night's salad. Apart from carefully arranging crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, sliced diagonally, with fruit and a pickle for the SO, I have absolutely no sense of mise en place - hence the extreme close-up here. Red and yellow cherry tomatoes from the garden over fresh mozzarella, drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, fresh cracked pepper and topped with fresh basil. (The basil is also from the garden, but don't look too closely at my poor excuse for chiffonade.) Simple but yummy.
The weather has been nice and warm this year where we live so our tomato plants have been going gangbusters. We have also had a nice yield of okra, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, swiss chard, etc., etc. Now if only we could convince the SO to eat any of it...
I actually spent last night making a few more charms. I've had a couple orders to fulfill, so I hope to fire the kiln again on Tuesday - which means I should have at least one or two new designs to show off again. I think my design development is finally slowing down, though. I'll probably be moving on to something else in the next week or two.
I hope everyone had a nice weekend. Here are your links for the week:
The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton Do you have a collection of lampwork beads nobody ever sees? Embrace simple, easy designs to showcase your glass treasures! Andrew shares five quick projects to inspire you to finally wear them!
Strands of Beads Melissa puts a new twist on her skully charm by pairing it with a new cutlass design.
The results are in - the Short One has selected a winner. I was quite amused that on this day of all days, Friday the 13th, the SO chose
as the winner. Lucky 7 is Michelle Mach - congratulations, Michelle! Let me know which charm you would like to have and send your mailing address to me at melissa[at]melissajlee.com.
I had a great turnout for this giveaway, and I really appreciate it. As a special "thank you" to everyone who entered, I'm offering 20% off all items in my new store through Sunday, August 15th. Just enter the promotional code CHARMED when you check out to have the discount applied. (Any orders placed during this period will ship out early next week.)
Like most of us, I'm sure, I look forward with great enthusiasm to International Talk Like a Pirate Day (which will roll around with its usual inevitability on September 19th). This year, I plan on being really prepared with jewelry to match. I thought I could turn one of my skully charms a little more pirate-y if I paired it with a little cutlass. What do you think?
And thus, here's the last charm for the week. Thanks for visiting!
I think I have to face facts that I'm not going to be able to keep up the pace of design that I've enjoyed for the past few weeks. I might have one more new charm to show you before the contest deadline, but that will be it. The others will have to wait until next week - at least. The Short One will be on vacation for the next several weeks (his school starts quite late), so all bets are off as to how much I'll be able to get done. Still, it's been a fun couple weeks. Thanks for joining me!
Here's a cute little rocketship. I wanted to created a charm that would complement the moon design I unveiled earlier:
I think they'd make a cute pair of earrings. What do you think? I'm working on a third space-themed charm, but I'm positive I won't be able to introduce it until next week.
There are still two days left to enter my charming charm giveaway. Go here, if you haven't already entered.
Here's a smaller version of my Stop Traffic pendant. I was originally going to try putting colored concrete in the pendant, rather than resin, but changed my mind at the last minute. I may try it in a later batch of charms, though. I threw this particular charm on a chain this morning and wore it to morning drop-off at the SO's camp. It was a good look, although, as is typical for me, I find that I have practically no shirts with the right collar for wearing a charm necklace.
Speaking of which, I sat down the other night and tried to come up with a few jewelry designs to support the new charms. I was completely flummoxed when I discovered that, since I usually like big, chunky designs, I have virtually no beads delicate enough to string with the charms. It seems I'm going to have to go bead shopping soon. What a fate worse than death, eh?
As with my previous posts, this charm is also included as one of the giveaway charms, if it happens to be the winner's favorite! Please visit my earlier post to enter the drawing.
The Chicago Botanic Garden held its annual Kite Festival this past weekend. We decided to attend with the Short One this year and ended up having a great time.
Kites are so beautiful, aren't they? To be honest, I don't have many memories flying kites when I was a child, but I've always admired their colorful designs.
I was rather partial to this dragon, but the owners had some trouble getting it up in the air.
We all thought the shark was rather cool, too.
In addition, the Chicago Fire Kite Team performed with amazing stunt kite flying. I'd never even heard of this before - it was interesting to see formation kite flying (there are videos on the Garden website here, if you're interested).
It was a fun family event. The SO had the opportunity to make his own small paper kite, and we ended up taking a larger one home with us to fly in the field near our house.
I hope you had a good weekend, too. I actually finished up four more charm designs (with yet another 3 designs in process, believe it or not), so expect pics shortly. (And, yes, I have thought about making a kite charm but am still grappling with making the tail sturdy enough for daily wear...)
In the meantime, here are your links for the week:
I finished a few more charm designs. Here's the first - a cute little ladybug. Once again, this reflects recent interests in our household. Among other things, the Short One discovered the joys of bug collecting this summer. He started out with fireflies but got terribly excited and ended up bringing all manner of grasshoppers, beetles and crawly things-in-a-jar into the house. Here's the one I find the most innocuous (as long as they don't travel in hordes, at least - is there a term for a group of them?), a little lucky ladybug.
I wasn't so sure about this next design:
Little silver buttons always strike me as being very ladylike for some reason. Not that I have much personal experience with this, frankly. And they are quite dainty:
I wanted to develop a design to complement the skulls, so I came up with a new version of an old favorite of mine - an eye charm. As you can see, this is a human eye rather than a dragon eye. I didn't really mean it to be a charm against the evil eye, but I guess, inevitably, it probably looks like one:
It's a bit big compared to the skull (almost twice the size, really), but I think might work well in a grouping, maybe with one of the mini dragon hearts.
Finally, I just kind of cut this charm off the cuff the night I was working on the others:
Yep, a classic cobweb. I used a few large round cobweb pendants last year for Halloween-themed designs. I think setting the design in the rectangular tag-shaped charm, gives it a nice effect. This, too, is larger than the other charms,
but still pretty understated and small for me. I only made one of these, but I liked the way this one turned out, so I'll probably make a few more, especially given that we're heading into my favorite time of year again. (I had serious negotiations with the SO yesterday about Halloween costumes. Robin - of Batman and Robin - seems to be the frontrunner at the moment.)
Anyway, I'm currently tinkering with two more designs, and a couple more on the sketch pad, so there will probably be a few more things to show before I turn my attention back to boxes and bigger pieces. Don't forget, my Charming Charm Giveaway is running until Friday the 13th - so be sure to enter by posting a comment here. These designs are included in the giveaway, should the winner prefer one of these designs to the others I posted earlier this week. (And they are also available in the shop, for any interested parties.)
As sad as it is to confess, my sense of style - where jewelry is concerned - sort of got stuck in the 80s. I like big pieces. Big earrings (back in the day, if they weren't at least 2" long, they weren't really earrings), big pendants, big statement jewelry. Big. Not small.
So, when I decided to make a Man in the Moon pendant (the Short One is very into the Man in the Moon these days), I planned on making a relief version similar in shape and size to the hippo one. Pretty straightforward.
In the meantime, however, I had a request from a customer to make a simple set of "Java Jive" letter charms. The night I made them, on a whim, I cut a simple moon face charm (above). And, well, I liked it. Simple, slightly rough looking. It worked for me. And it was small, probably the smallest piece I've ever made. See?
Well, I thought, why stop there? I made a few mini skully pendants:
This design was one of the earliest I created. I made the first one about a month after I started working with metal clay. Except the original version is about twice as big as this one. These are small and light enough to work perfectly well as earring components. Cool! So I decided to shrink yet another favorite, older design:
Here's a tiny version of my dragon heart pendant, just about 11mm square. Anyway, these all turned out quite well (in my humble opinion). As a test, I hung one of the little skullys on a ball chain, wore it around over the weekend and liked the result. So, I sat down with the clay and made a small school of fish:
You can probably tell where I'm headed, here. Not only do I have these four charm designs, I have two more on the table with prototypes for an additional two and sketches for at least one more. Yes, I'm completely charmed! Charms are charming!
Would you like to share my current joy in smallness? If so, please leave a comment here, below this post. On Friday, August 13th (an auspicious day if there ever was one), the SO will pick a winner. The winner, in turn, may pick one favorite charm, among not only the charms in this post but any I show off on the blog before the 13th, to be mailed to her or him. The usual rules apply - no "Anonymous" posters, please.
Oh, and if you can't wait until the 13th, I've put a few of the finished charms in the shop.
Here's a little bagatelle of a pendant from me - a cute little hippo dreaming (probably) of rainbow-colored ice cream. Yum.
As I mentioned yesterday, after my grand statement that I wanted to focus on big three-dimensional pieces, I went off on a tangent and created this medallion pendant, among other clearly small, two-dimensional pieces. Oh, well. Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, as they say.
Anyway, this little guy's been on my list of things to do for the past year. Back in the days when the Short One's vocabulary consisted solely of "No", "Mommy", "want" and a variety of animal names, we took a plane flight to New York. The SO had trouble with ear pressure during the descent and, in an attempt to distract him, I grabbed his doodle erase board and started sketching animals for him to identify. About fifteen animals later, the plane landed, and we toodled off the plane and had a fine vacation, but a few of the animal designs stuck with me (us). The hippo, being the salubrious beast that he is, was one of our favorites.
So, here's a charm for peaceful travel and a good night's sleep. (I'm putting him in the store, should anyone be interested.) More new (two-dimensional) designs from me later this week.
I went out to the garden this evening and discovered that the SO's little lima bean plant is no longer all that little and is even starting to produce lima beans. I'm not sure why I'm so surprised by this, but I am quite surprised. I took photos to commemorate the SO's success for posterity, of course.
The SO and I put together a little Life and Times of the Lima Bean Plant booklet tonight, complete with the aforementioned photos, so he can take it to summer camp tomorrow for his "Show and Share" day. My little botanist is determined to donate the book to the school for posterity, but I'm trying to convince him to bring it back (it is, after all, still unfinished) so we can find out the end of the story and fill in the blank pages at the end. Still, it's good to be excited about books and plants (and hopefully lima beans, once they're ready to eat), right?
I actually fired the kiln this weekend and have some new work to show for it. Of course, after making all of those grandiose comments about making big statement pieces, I fired a bunch of small things, but they're still cute (in my humble opinion). I'll try to take pics tomorrow, so I can actually talk about beads and jewelry for the first time in weeks on the blog. In the meantime, I'll let my friends and colleagues do the talking - here are your intriguing links for the week:
Art Bead Scene Want to capture a bit of the summer? This week's collection of sea beads will keep those summer memories alive all year 'round.
About.com Jewelry Making As part of the "Start a New Hobby" theme running through About.com's hobby blogs this week, Tammy takes a moment to think about jewelry as more than a hobby. What about jewelry as a job?
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.