Friday, February 27, 2009

Postcard Sale

As if this week couldn't get any busier, the Art Center held a postcard sale last night. I was going to be there anyway organizing some things for the event on Sunday. This was the first time they've tried a postcard sale, and I know it's already on the schedule for next year! They ask artists to bring in works no larger than the size of a postcard. The variety of mediums was fascinating! The works are a flat $20 each. At a specified time, members of the Art Center had first pick of what they wanted to purchase. After that, it was open to the general public. I am already planning what postcards I would want to make next year, since I didn't have time this year. Of course a beaded one, a wood burned one, maybe even an entire etched copper one! But here is what a purchased..... glass flower, dog oil painting, quilted flower, watercolor woman.I'm off to work to show off this new peacock necklace! The peacock and the large round faux stone piece are both from the new Blue Moon Beads Manor House collection. For the rest, I attached a vintage rhinestone button to one metal wheel, an old clip on earring to another wire wheel, another fancy button for one of the links, and an interesting filigree piece for the other link.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Treasured Collections

I promised earlier in the week that I would elaborate on an event coming up at the Art Center. Last year, I worked on the committee of this event and this year I am a co-chair. It's called Treasured Collections and for a small fee of $10 a table, local collectors can bring in whatever they are passionate about and do a display. The event is on Sunday, March 1st from 1-4 p.m. and at that time, admission is $5 for people to come see the galleries. Since this is a fundraiser, we do not spend any money on the event. This means, we have been busy getting donations for the refreshments and donations for the raffle we do.

Last year, I did a table of peacock items. This year, I decided to do artisan beads. More specifically lampwork glass beads. I decided to narrow it down because there are so many types of artisan beads now - polymer clay, pewter, silver, glass, etc... Maybe next year I can choose another medium from my collection. But I thought I would share with you my lampwork glass collection thus far. I have been able to incorporate each bead into a design. I started collecting in 2001 when I went to my first Bead & Button Show. Since then, I make it a tradition to buy a special bead from an artist I admire every year I go. When I did my little write-up for my table, I was amazed to list out these artists who are all over the U.S.!

Peacock Egg by Emiko Sawamoto of Ruri Glass Studio.
Peacock Barrel by Darby Kingston Graham of Darbeads.
Sandblast Dragonfly by Alethia Donothan of Dacs Beads.

Floral by Kim Miles.

Sea Garden by Andrea Guarino.

Butterfly by Bryan Kitson of KB Glassworks.

Dragonfly by Kim Wertz of HeartBead.
Owls by Georgina Fields (eBay seller Jawjee)

One of these owl bracelets has been in my Etsy shop - I can't believe no one has bought it - it is so pretty!
I have one more set of beads from another artist, but I have to keep that a secret right now.
Many of these artists sell on Etsy, so take a look for them. It also makes you feel good that many of these artists use their revenue towards great causes. For instance, Kim Miles and her husband went to Africa last November and plan to go again. Georgina Fields supports the Australian Red Cross.
Enjoy this eye candy - these artist are so truly talented and I feel very lucky to own their work!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shells, Buttons, Blues & Greens

I am so ready for Spring I can hardly stand it! And, apparently so are the retailers. If you go out shopping this time of year, they get you all excited with their new, fresh merchandise in pretty colors that uhhhh, you can't wear yet. Because it's still snowing. Anyway, it's been a dream for a peacock lover like me to be finding not only peacock clothing (more on that later) but the color scheme of accessories is blues and greens!

As I'm sure I have mentioned before, I like to look at the costume jewelry when I am out at my local discount store. If the price is right, I'll treat myself to a little something to make me happy or to get me inspired. Over the past few weeks, I've picked up 3 necklaces with shell elements in them. I just couldn't resist the most beautiful shimmery blues! They make me want to be on a beach somewhere..... Many designers are soon headed off on the Bead Cruise - I wish I were tagging along. :-)
I was surprised too, to see that 2 of these necklaces are actually made with shell buttons! Look closely. The one on the left, I think I might swap out it's current pendant for a peacock shell pendant I have. But, back to the buttons.... you should see what Lorelei does with buttons - she makes the most beautiful designs with them!

The other things I've been collecting are big, chunky stones and I'm planning quite an opulent peacock necklace.

In other shopping updates, a few weeks ago I blogged about the 2 new Blue Moon Beads collections: Manor House and Varnish. Further research has informed me that Michaels is due to get 3 new collections: another Blue Moon Beads one called Tokens. Then one called Faux Show and another from Jill McKay. Happy bead shopping to all!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cuff Me, Spoon Me

I'm gearing up for a super busy week, so I'm trying to get some studio time in today.

I have finished 2 cuff bracelets with some of the copper plates I made last week. To decorate the rest of the leather cuffs I affixed these to, I burned peacock feather images on each side. I am pleased with how they turned out!
I also finished 2 spoon bracelets I started last week. This picture is not so good, but you can see more pics on Etsy as both a cuff and spoon have made it there for sale!Here's what I have on my plate this week:

School: I have a mid-term in my class tomorrow night and this week marks the end of one of my online classes so I have to submit a project and complete the final test. Also, find out what I need to start my next online class.

Art Center: Some issues I need to assist with as Treasurer. Also, there is an artist's postcard sale on Thursday night. And, the fundraiser I am co-chair of is next Sunday. I will give more details about the fundraiser later in the week, but I need to collect some more raffle donations, help setup on Saturday, and get my piece ready for the event.

Personal Life: My Mom is coming to visit next weekend for the fundraiser so I have to get the house clean. And make sure I give my hubby and dogs some attention.

Work: Oh yeah, I need to go to work everyday..... We have a team building event on Thursday.

I can't wait until this time next Sunday when it's all over!

Friday, February 20, 2009

How to wear 8 rings without looking like a weirdo:

Two books were recently suggested to me that I have been getting inspiration from: Semiprecious Salvage and Vintage Redux. I actually bought Semiprecious Salvage, but just leafed through Vintage Redux at Barnes & Noble the other day which is where I got this idea for a ring bracelet! Awesome, I thought - I have a lot of rings just sitting in my jewelry box! My Mom taught me at a very young age about the value and sentimental memories from fine jewelry. I got my first birthstone ring (sapphire) for my 10th birthday. A few years later, my parents helped me put an opal ring on layaway and I paid it off little by little. My Mom gave me a diamond ring of hers.... my class ring..... other gifts or purchases I made myself. At any rate, unfortunately I never wear these rings. They are certainly still beautiful and mean a lot to me. So I was really excited about this idea of putting them to a new use where I could show them off in a different way! If I ever want to wear them traditionally again, all I have to do is unlink the bracelet. A ring itself acts as part of a toggle clasp! I've worn this bracelet to work the last few days and just love it! On the other hand, my wedding set is a permanent fixture of my body. I hardly ever take it off - which can be bad when I am doing things like yard work or more recently, metal work. Which leads me to a copper patina update:

Being the impatient person that I am, I didn't want to have to order black patina online and wait for it to arrive. So on Wednesday, I found a stained glass business nearby that sold it and Jon was nice enough to pick it up for me. I experimented a bit and here is the progress. There is no exact science to this copper etching thing - it's all trial and error and there are so many variables you can come out with. The longer you leave your piece in the ferric chloride, the deeper your etch will be. I still like the plainer finish I got on my first 2 plates which I think was achieved with the baking soda I rinsed them with to neutralize them. I do like the look of the black patina too, but I think I will try sanding more of it off so that it just outlines the image. I feel the pieces are supposed to look old and distressed so I'm trying not to be too much of a perfectionist. It's fun and addictive and I will keep up with the updates!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Two 4 Tuesday

2 pairs of earrings + 2 bracelets = 4 new items in Etsy
Today! Tuesday!

I also listed 4 new necklaces on Sunday - including the one I entered into the Art Bead Scene's Kiss Challenge.

Have a great day!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

How us married folk roll......

I spent most of yesterday (Valentine's Day) in my basement. That's right, my basement. For a few weeks now, I have been half heartedly bugging my husband to help me pull together the supplies I would need to etch copper. When I say half heartedly, it's because I knew I really didn't have the time to do it, but I just wanted the supplies there to know that I could if I wanted to. It seems I've been finding this technique all over lately - in a new book I bought, magazines, on Etsy. While I totally support the artists already doing it - bought pieces from Jennifer Stumpf and from Round Rabbit - I wanted to try it myself since I have a vast array of stamps already from scrapbooking. One in particular I knew I wanted to incorporate into jewelry for some time that says "in my past life, I was either a gypsy or a peacock". I had made a shrinky dink out of this stamp some time ago, but it just wasn't doing the job.

So yesterday was the day. In the morning, I announced to my husband this is what I wanted for Valentine's Day. Yup, that's right honey - I'd rather have ferric chloride instead of roses. No, it's not a trick. So we set off to a few stores - mostly hardware stores - to get what was needed. The only thing we didn't find was a blackening patina - more on that later....

Here we will descend down the stairs for a tour of my almost 100 year old basement, where some parts are downright creepy... The work area is always a mess. One thing about me - I hate prepping for projects and I hate cleaning up after them. I just like to make whatever I am doing. This is not such a good practice thought because when I go to start the next project, I have to cleanup after the last one which makes the prep even more time consuming. I don't know why I do this.
Behind the door in the previous picture is where it gets creepy. This is where you can see the actual stone foundation and it also leads to another little creepy room where....uhhh.....they kept coal or something before the house was run on a furnace (I think). My crazy imagination runs wild on me and I hate when Jon is gone overnight because the house makes a lot of noises and all I can think of is that little room looks like it came out of one of the Saw movies. Sooooo, this is really romantic so far, right? Really though, it was great and Jon assisted with drilling holes in the completed pieces and I even talked him into hammering some old spoons (my Grandma's) flat for me to make bracelets. Unfortunately though, the metal stamp set I was going to use to stamp phrases into these is worthless. It's for scrapbooking purposes and I'm not sure what it would make an impression in except tin foil! He has some letter sets from a race shop he works out of that he said we can borrow. So, spoons must wait...... Here's a pic of the plaques I made for the dog's collars. I found the most perfect charms at Ornamentea.And here's the 2 plates I made to rock some cuff bracelets I made from the aforementioned stamp. They've already taken on a patina of their own, but I still think they need the blackening patina. So after some trial and error, here are some questions I have that perhaps a more experienced etcher can answer:

1. What kind of patina do you use and where do you get it. Is there an easy alternative to find out there?

2. How many pieces can you etch out of one tray of solution before it becomes too weak?

3. How long do you usually leave your pieces in to etch?

4. It sounds like you can use this same solution to etch nickel or brass?

I would be most appreciative of any tips!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Color Block People

Hmmm, let's see... what has this week entailed. Got my closet cleaned so that was a good feeling. It always leads to finding new ways to pair things up, especially with jewelry! The thought of selling some clothes on eBay though is so daunting - sometimes it's worth it, other times it's not. I was super excited to be the feature artist on the Art Bead Scene blog on Monday! We had a taste of Spring, only to be cruelly thrown back into winter. Oh, and we got a new rug for the kitchen which made me think of the title for this entry, as the new rug is a similar pattern to the living room rug we got last year. The kitchen rug has inspired thoughts of doing a similar pattern as a back splash - something that has been on our wish list since we moved in. Here is Biscuit modeling the kitchen rug (hopefully without thoughts to mess on it) and Mocha modeling the living room rug.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Challenge - The Kiss

My #1 goal for this weekend was to finish my first ever submission to this month's Art Bead Scene Challenge. Check it out here. I was really excited about this challenge because it revolves around my most favorite paintings of all time: The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. I already had a few polymer clay "kiss" beads from Humblebeads that I knew I wanted to work into my design. And an old pendant that I wanted to incorporate.

I ended up taking apart a necklace I made a few weeks ago with a "kiss" bead that I was not too happy with. I made it for a wearable art event at the Art Center, was short on time, and took inspiration to string the bead sideways from a project in Stringing magazine. Now I had the bead and the pendant laying in front of me and it was quite challenging to see how these 2 very different components would work together.

Then I pulled over an old drawer pull I found in my basement. The pendant slide onto it as if it were so meant to be. Then, the length of the kiss bead was just the right size to wire across the pull. From there, it just flowed together. I really liked how it turned out! Since this is my first time entering, can someone comment on if you can enter more than one design? I thought that was my understanding when it says you can submit 2 pictures a day. If that is the case, I'd also like to enter the cuff bracelet I made with a "kiss" bead and old watch bands!

Friday, February 6, 2009


I am filled with energy and excitement for this weekend. I know it sounds silly to be happy about temperature forecasts in the 40's, but hey, such is life in Michigan! Jon and I have common goals of cleaning the house (he's so good and helps, especially with the bathrooms!), going grocery shopping, and possibly getting a new rug for the kitchen. My personal goals are to clean my closet, but more importantly to bring some jewelry ideas to life! I should have time to do this as Jon wants to work on his vehicles and get some homework done. I know I haven't mentioned homework lately, and I feel lucky that my last semester consists of fairly low maintenance classes! Oh, and the Art Center is having a reception on Sunday for the new exhibit: African American Mosaic. They are also trying a new idea - "trunk shows" for selected artists. I hope it helps drive sales for the gift shop and if it is successful, I hope I am asked to participate in the future!

Since I do always try to have pictures in my posts for something fun to look at, I will share pictures of the scrapbook pages I got done last weekend at my friend Kim's. I've been thrilled with the "zone" I've been in lately when it comes to scrapping! It's a good feeling to get a lot accomplished when you've hauled all your stuff around - to feel mostly "caught up" with your memories...... It was fun to have some girl time and that's one of the reason's Jon went to Florida - he knew I'd be occupied on Friday and Saturday with my invite to Kim's.
Have a great weekend everyone!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Nothing too exciting....

It's been kindof a blah week, and I don't have anything new and exciting to report. Not to mention, my evening last night didn't quite go as I thought it would. I was looking forward to a relaxing evening where Jon was going to work on homework and I was going to work on jewelry. But instead, we came home to a sick dog. My poor little Biscuit made a #2 mess in his cage for only the second time in the year and a half we've owned him. Needless to say, it was not under his control if you know what I mean. First up was a bath for him. Then, his little dog bed and blanket were beyond washable so they got thrown away. Luckily, his cage has a solid plastic tray like bottom so it stayed contained. But as I was bringing it into the bathtub to wash, he made another mess on our 5 x 7 kitchen rug. *Sigh* Not a huge loss as we buy an inexpensive new rug for that area every couple of years and that one was about 2 years old, but still. We had to keep an eye on him the rest of the night and he is still having problems this morning. He ate and drank heartily last night so we are not too worried yet.

I guess one little fun thing I can talk about is the new container I got at Joann's! A few days ago, I talked about storage/transport of scrapbooking things - now I bought something for jewelry. It's a sewing basket actually, but I am using it for portable jewelry making. I just had to have it with the peacock fabric and all, but also used a 40% coupon on it! I met with a client on Monday to discuss a necklace design, and it fit the tools/supplies/beads I needed perfectly! It has a little pull out plastic tray and a roomy bottom. Hmmmm, I'm thinking maybe I could bring little projects to work for my lunch hour - that might be one way to get my beading fix on a daily basis!
I can also look forward to looking for a new kitchen rug. I was actually thinking of changing it up a bit and maybe doing a runner coming in the door and a runner along the cooking area. I am already feeling antsy about spring cleaning.......

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wesley the Owl

I just finished reading a cute little book called Wesley the Owl. It's basically a Marley & Me story, but with an owl instead of a dog. (Also read Marley & Me a few years ago - cried at the end, bawled even harder in the theater - surprising since if you asked me 10 years ago if I would ever own a dog, I would have said no).

It was interesting the learn "the way of the owl" as author Stacey puts it. Owls are just as loyal, protective and loving as any other traditional pet.... obviously raising a wild owl is not something everyone can or should do. It was especially amazing to hear how many mice she had to collect and feed to him daily! Owls eat whole mice, then later cough up a ball of the remains. Sounds gross, but many science students study these perfect little mouse skeletons. In fact, on a recent search of owl items, I found that you can actually buy one of these little "balls" on the Urban Outfitters website. Check it out here.
I recommend this read to any animal or owl lover out there. And maybe a visit to the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, a place I've yet to go, is in my future for my very own owl watching!