Monday, July 30, 2012

Buzzing brain

I tell you but my brain is buzzing with ideas all the time.  Who gave my Muse an espresso???  Oh wait, that was probably me.  But every where I see things that inspire me and give me more ideas.  I don't know what I want now...more hours in the day..or more hands to do multiple jobs at the same time.  I found a new artist making the most incredible pendents over on Facebook's Bead Soup Party Cafe.  Her name is Marti Conrad.  She posted pictures of a few of her fish pieces she'd been working on.  I caught one look at the pink/black/blue pendent and knew I must have it.  So I bought it along with a another one and definitely was so pleased when I opened the package and got it out.  I was right in the middle of finishing Fern Goddess at the time, so I could not wait to start.  I can't find any of my starting photos, but yesterday I did a three hour marathon and got quiet a bit done. 

Usually I have such a hard time naming pieces, but this one came easy.  Six years ago, I had to go to Miami for training on the Coulter Hematology machine. We got the royal treatment every night.  One evening a group of us went to South Beach for dinner and party.  After dinner, and before I was to met the group at a club we'd decided on, I wanted to walk along the beach getting my feet wet in the Atlantic Ocean.  It was dusk, and the beach wasn't crowded at all.  It was lovely to be out with bare feet in the sand during March!  I turned to look back at land side where all the lights from the restaurants and clubs were on.  The colors of the neon and the buildings always stuck with me.  And looking down at the pendent from Marti made me fly back to that moment on the beach were the lights were reflected in the pounding waves.  Instantly, I knew this was to be called South Beach Reflections.  Along with the pendent from Marti, I'm using rhinestones I got from Liz.  Some of them are squarish so I'm having to rethink how to "cage" them in.  So far, I'm pretty happy with this project.

Something else happened today that I'd like to mention.  If you've been following my blog, then you are aware that my youngest Scottie, Arwen, was diagnosed with bladder cancer back in October.  Usually the prognosis for canines with this type of cancer is 0-120 days.  Yes, that is correct...days!  When we got the news, we both were devastated.  I went to Facebook and made a comment.  Instant one of my old Scottie friends private me telling me that her dog Sydney has had it for almost three years and had survived that long due to preventative therapy medications.  Anne sent me a list of drugs to ask my Vet about.  During this time, whenever I've felt low or think that these are Arwen's last days, I write to Anne. She is always been there.  She has given me the strength to go on with her encouragement and knowledge.  I don't know what I've done without her during this time.  This afternoon when I signed on to Facebook, I saw that Anne had had to take Sydney for her last Vet trip.  Sydney the brave twelve year old girl has gone to be with all those other pets taken from our hearts too soon.  I went downstairs and hugged my baby girl so tight. Then came back and messaged Anne to thank her for being there for me. And in my heart, I was so hoping that even my few words could help her handle this loss and grief. 
Arwen sleep on the couch

I know in a previous post about the Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry book, I mentioned the words that Ray wrote about the community of beaders sharing lives with each other.  There are so many more communities out there that help and support each other night/day  24/7.  Some of my Scottie friends are people I've know online for over 20 years when I first brought FalaPink home to our new home 23 years ago.  Some I met online the next year on an Internet group called Scotti_L back when you subscribed to Internet message boards.  Then the Internet was born, and we all moved to groups such as CyberScots and Yahoo Groups.  We've found each other on Facebook, and though we've never met in person there are these Scottie friends who are always there for me as I am for them.  We are a community. We are a family. Sharing the laughs and the tears.  For Anne and are big hugs for you.

Anne's Sydney

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fern Goddess Completed

I am still in overdrive making these big bead embroidery collars.  I'm hooked on them.  With each one I am experimenting with a different idea.  Where do I get my ideas? From books?  Sometimes.  From magazines? Sometimes.  So where do you get ideas to help expand your experimenting trying to find the perfect Necklace Collar?  First, I don't think I'll ever find that...or anyone as how in the world can you compete with Mother Earth.  She has components that we can never obtain...clouds, spider webs, ripples in the water, patterns on a desert plain, mountains covered with fog, creatures painted with the most wonderful palette of colors...nope it is hard to compete with Mother Earth.  But myself with others are constantly trying to achieve something miniscule in comparison with Her work.

I bought this pendent from Stoney Creek Beads in Michigan last month.  It is one of Duane Collins.  To me she looked like a Fern Goddess so there is the name I decided to call this.  I used the Rivolis that my friend Liz let me have.  Then I dived into my bead stash and find these dyed mother of pearl rings that were perfect.  I wanted to surround the Fern Goddess pendent with something more organic than glass beads, so I found this string of polished stone beads.  I chose colors that reminded me of my trip to one of the rain forest in Washington State (the Hoh Rain Forest at the foot of the Olympic Mountain near Forks Washington long before the Twilight movies came out). 

Hoh Rain Forest in Washington State

Close up of the caged Rivolis

I chose colors that reminded me of the Ho Rain Forest
 I have been having difficulty finding the perfect way to clasp these huge collars.  The weight is settled on the clasp, and I've had a few major failures in the most inappropriate places (like at the Worthington art show when I was taking one off to embarrassing).  So I've been working with weight ratio (oh like the physics term) and decided that I had to reallocate the surface on the back making the piece not hang like a bag of weight off the back of the neck.  I'd looked around on Facebook and the blogs I follow looking to see how other Artist had attacked this problem.  Finally it came to me that if I completed the inner circle completing it to include the clasp that the weight would be more evenly distributed.  How to get that? I used a bigger clasp made of dug into the skin.  I made hand made clasp of beads for the toggle and ring which works well when it comes to comfort, but they have the potential to fail with too much tugging.  I added more weight to the attachments to the clasp and that did help with the weight proportions, and I think will hold up with wear.  Then I looked at a couple pieces from the Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry book and saw that some artist were using hook and clasp from the fabric stores.  So this is what I've done with this necklace.  (no picture as though it works, I don't like the finished look as well so more experimenting with the next collar).  Oh yes...there will be more!  I'm going to have to buy more of those display pieces to exhibit them all in my display case in the upstairs studio. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Totally Obsessed!

I am just on fire!  For some reason, I just want to bead all the time.  I can't stop.  I even dream about beading.  And I am obsessed with these collars.  I started this collar on July 19th by picking out one of the  Duane Collins' pendents I'd gotten at Stoney Creek Beads in Michigan.  I also used the crystal rivolis that I got from my friend Bad Liz.  I got out a piece of Nicole's Bead Backing, glued down the pieces, and just went in over drive working on this collar.  I have to say that I need to take a breather.  My hand is aching, but I still want to bead!  Here is the progression from July 19th to July 23.  The whole top is finished, and I need to work on the backing then the embellishing the edges. 

Beginning choices

July 20th progression

July 21st progression

July 22nd progression

July 22nd late night progression

July 23rd progression: backing glued on

edging colors 

Now I am planning the edging.  Are you like me? Do you actually look at the prices of the beads to figure out which will make the most dramatic impact without using all your most expensive beads?  I am frugal but there are times when I have to bite the bullet and go with what looks the best.  And oh yes, I decided to let the $12.15 a tube sit aside and go with the top $5.05 tube for the edging. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

IT is HERE: Showcase 500 beaded jewelry

Last week, I was up here in the office loft doing what I usually do when I first wake up in the afternoon: I was sitting here looking at Facebook and catching up on the day with my friends.  All the dogs were quiet downstairs sleeping away as it was so hot outside and the A/C inside made it a nice comfortable place to sleep (especially for Fiona who was sleeping on the vent).  Then I heard the screen door open and a "thump".  Instantly all three dogs jumped to life wanting to let me know that someone or something interrupted their middle afternoon nap. Chris went downstairs and brought me up a package. When I saw it was from Sterling Publishers, I got all excited.  They send me the most amazing books to review or give away to you, my blog followers.  I opened it up and there was the long awaited for book that already it getting wonderful reviews.  It was

I went downstairs and poured myself another cup of coffee and snuggled down in my comfy chair in the upstairs studio.  Then like Dorothy taking that first step on the yellow brick road toward Emerald City, I turned the page and was instantly taken into a place tickling my Muse and making my Inner Goddess jump up and down.  Each page is filled with luscious designs and a varied array of color combinations that will make anyone smile with delight.
And I am so proud that two of my pieces are included in this book

Ray Hemachandra wears so many hats at Lark Jewelry & Beading group at Lark Book, but he has far outdone himself as the juror of this wonderful piece.  Here are 500 of the most stunning jewelry designs submitted by 275 artist from over 30 countries.  Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry is being promoted as a gift book and with Christmas coming up fast why not cross off names from your Christmas  list by purchasing now.  But let me step back here and truly recommend that this is a MUST book for you an Artist and Designer.  Study the pages to observe the color palettes used, or pathways, or just design aspects to further your journey down your own road of discovery.

In his introduction, Ray writes that beading is "one of the world's oldest forms of creative expression, professionalized in recent decades with the artwork and books of leading beaders...but the advent and power of the social media have changed the development of the beading community".  He writes that through online communications, the world of beading has changed dramatically from one person alone in her studio surrounded by her beads to that of a living organism sharing ideas and personal insights on everything from what to have for dinner to what ideas a certain newly acquired bead brings to mind.  The computer and Internet have changed most of us bringing us closer together and getting to know each other more so than even five years ago.  By joining the community of like minded Artist through blogs, Facebook, Twitter, or any other tool, those who once sat alone creating is now transformed into a vital link to the creative flow of our Art.  We share, we commune, we become one with ideas or suggestions.  And I have to say that that before when you saw an amazing design in a magazine, were you not a little intimidated by that person if you every met them?  I know I was...but by sharing and reaching out, we see the warm human behind the "name", and they too see that same excitement in the newly arrived in beading community.  Barriers have been breached, and we have truly become a community of caring giving humans one bead at a time.

I have decided to share with you a piece of this global road of creativity by sharing with you some of the images from the book by fellow Artist here in Ohio.  I have been lucky to share a couple steps with a few of them along our yellow brick road.  Who knows how long it will take us to find the Emerald City, but I believe that we will all arrive there together and My! won't it be a big party.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

And now for some Scotties!

I write about the two girls all the time here and on Facebook.  Mainly because they both have serious health issues (Fiona has Diabetes and Arwen has Bladder Cancer), and both are very needy girls wanting attention.  But I do have another Scottie who I rarely write about. Frodo is the typical middle child who rides the wave whenever anything happens.  He's Fiona's son and so he looks exactly like her except he's brindle and she's wheaten.  When he looks up at me, I see her mouth and the shape of her eyes.  He has his father's big ears though.  Frodo is a sweet boy who has a very bad habit.  His habit?  Chewing on the fence and pulling on the chain link whenever he sees another dog out in the field or walking along the pathway between our houses. 
He KNEW a bath was in the future and was hiding in Fiona's bed

But I made his wait so he passed out near his toys
When he was a little guy, he was obsessed with the rabbits that lived under the big pine trees in the back.  He was so obsessed which means he barked his head off at them that we one time had to put up black sheets of plastic on the back of the fence so he didn't see them.  That worked for awhile.  Then he decided that if he chewed a hole in the wooden fence big enough to put his head through, he would be able to make those rabbits bid by his commands whatever those might be.  Oh yes, he chewed a hole big enough for a very determined Scottie to put his head through.  I have a feeling that if we wouldn't have noticed, he would also have chewed a hole big enough for him to get out all the way.  On top of chewing the wooden fence, he'll grab the chain link fence and pull on it.  He's so strong that he actually got it pulled out enough so he could put his head under it to get at the poor unsuspecting dog walking down the path.  So we had to put kennel wire on all parts of the fence exposed.  The rest of the fence is covered with ivy, but yep!  Frodo figured out that he could pull the ivy out (with his teeth) and make peep holes for maximum spying on all those dogs and people walking on the path. 

And yes, the water was BLACK with dirt
Even wet, Frodo is such a cutie pie
Two years ago, his obsession cost me a whole lot when he got not two but sixteen teeth pulled.  Can we say that I was not very happy with this chewing boy.  But one look at those milk chocolate eyes and clownish expression and my heart just give in.  Now you would think that he would stop these bad habits now that he's a ripe old age of 9...nope!  He keeps on doing in plus the chew on mulch, rocks, and twigs.  So today he went in for teeth cleaning and SURPRISE more teeth pulled.  This time he got 4 teeth.  I asked the Vet tech how many he has left thinking it can't be many more but she laughed, got the chart out and told me that he has 18 more than are potential to be pulled.  Oh my!  So he's home now resting after his ordeal.  Bad thing was that yesterday was the once every three month bath for him...he usually is pretty clean as he hates mud or water...just loves to chew. 

I have to write a little about Arwen too.  Last October she was diagnosed with TCC (Transistional Cell Carcinoma) of the Bladder.  Scotties are the breed most prone for this cancer which a very dire prognosis.  The time line for dogs diagnosed with this form of bladder cancer is 1-120 survival.  That is only three months!  Arwen now is on her 10th month of survival.  She is on Piroxicam and now an antibiotic daily.  She has good days and bad days.  She has trouble voiding in the morning and is incontinent most of the rest of the time.  We've had times when we thought this would be her last week, but then she rallies and we know we'll have her with us longer.  I guess I am thinking a whole lots about this more than usual, as I found out that the Vet Tech at Worthington Woods whose dog was diagnosed with the same cancer around the same time had to be put down two weeks ago as the cancer metastasized to the lungs.  When she told me last week, I started to get all teary eyed. She asked me about Arwen and we just hugged.  I know I won't have he with me long, but she's still just a little clown making us laugh.  Chris sleeps downstairs now so he can let her out in the middle of the night. We can't leave her for long and we let her out constantly like when she was a puppy.  We give her canned food which she loves, lots of treats which she REALLY loves, and tons of love.  It is so hard to think about her or even Fiona not being here.   But we know the days will come. Right now we just hug them all and are blessed that we get to share our lives with these three little canines.

Arwen never turns down a treat no matter what it is

And she always loves a nice nap on the towels we keep down because of her accidents.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Give Away and Review of Jewelry books

Once again, I would like to thank the people at Lark Craft Books and Sterling Publishing for giving me the chance to review some of their wonderful books.   The two books that I am reviewing today along with the give away are all professional jeweler books.  When I first got the one book to review and the other for a give way for my blog readers, I was a little taken aback as they both were far out of my realm of comfort.  Neither one seemed to interest me at the time, but then I sat down with the first book by Carles Codina, Color, Texture & Casting for Jewelers: Hands-on Demonstrations and Practical Applications and was immersed in the book.  Never again when I see metal jewelry for sell will I question the prices on each piece.  I had no idea the complexity of the design and craft man ship involved in any precious metal jewelry.

Carles Codina i Armengoi in his introduction states that "to understand jewelry making, it is not adequate to know it on a theoretical level".  These theoretical levels are based on the knowledge of Mathematics, physics, and chemistry some based thousands of years ago by Phoenicians, Romans, and Greeks.  In this modern age, it is still a requirement of any jewelry to know the techniques of "granulation, keum boo, and mokume gane" which allows the artist to "come into direct contact with the material and fully appreciate its construction requirements".  Once these are learned and practice on the workbench, does the artist "use ancient processes to develop a current design and be inspired by contemporary artist who are doing the same".  With many photos and understandable language for someone like myself who has no instruction in the jewelers' world, I was able to understand and fully appreciate the steps taken to produce outstanding jewelry using these long used techniques.  The logic of the chemistry and physics involved in manipulating metals into jewelry from granulation techniques to molding is a fascinating read for anyone who wants to see "behind the curtain" when you step into an Artist booth and cast your eyes on the simple or intricate design.  You like myself will learn to appreciate the work involve in the creation.

Sample of technique pages

After reading the above book, I turned to another book on Master Jewelers.  The book, The Penland Book of Jewelry: Master Classes in Jewelry Techniques, took me one step farther into the mind and techniques of jewelry creation.  The Penland School of Crafts is in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and is the haven for many students and teachers.  The in depth classes train the students in techniques such as those described in the above book, but goes further into developing new directions for the Artist teaching and the Students learning.  The editor Marthae Le Van writes that the offerings at the Penland School of Craft "in metal work are even more diverse, and including raising, holloware, and small sculpture, along with alternative materials, anodizing, die forming, lost wax casting, mechanism, jewelry design, and concept oriented classes".  She has ten diverse artist to write an essay, provide a hands-on demonstration of a technique along with many photos of their creations and each chapter ending with a gallery of other artist work that has meaning to them.  The turn of each page greets the reader with information and beautiful work that literally can take your breath away.  The artist highlighted in this book include Marilyn Da Silva, John Cogswell, Jaime Pelissier, Rob Jackson, Heather White van Stolk, Jan Baum, Tom McCarthy, Maria Phillips, Mary Ann Scherr, and Douglas Harling.  All are unique and all are amazing Artist.  I really enjoyed reading this book learning each Artist discovery and motivation that has lead them along the road to achievement and teaching.

I learned so much from these two books and would like to pass along this chance to explore and learn the history, the techniques, and the future direction of Jewelry Artist.  I am giving away to one person both of these two amazing books.  You should see these two books as gateways to answers about the past, the techniques, and the future direction of jewelry making.  I recommend that the one winner read the books in the order I have to fully appreciate them.  Start with Color, Texture & Casting for Jewelers for the basic information, then read The Penland Book of Jewelry to see the result of practice of these skills and then taking them beyond to another dimensions.

sample of hands-on technique

gallery pages 

I will be choosing one person to receive both book on July 21.  If you are interested please leave a comment to this message.  I would also like to ask you to PLEASE make sure you leave a way I can contact you if you are the winner.  You can do this by either having your e-mail information in the comment, or have a way through your blog account that I can contact you.  If you have blogger, you can actually edit your profile to so that your comment will have a workable e-mail address.  Or check back after July 21 to see if your name has been chosen.  As much as I would love to pass these great books onto people outside of the US, there is an issue with the cost of postage, so therefore this give away is only for those inside the US.  I'm sorry to all my followers from outside the US.

Disclosure...As a reviewer of  products from Lark Books, I receive the book above free of charge. I have been asked to review these products and give my honest opinion of the products...positive or negative. I am not being compensated by Lark Books for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received and reviewed.
you are the winner of the two jewelry making
Enjoy the read! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

HURRY! Pretty Things Give Away

The most fabulous wonderful Mz. Lori Anderson from Pretty Things is having a give away...and the deadline is TOMORROW July13!   Hurry hurry hurry to get in on her great give away for some of the treasures she picked up at Bead and Button.

 Lori is also the creator and hostess of the Bead Soup Blog Party.   Check out this link for the current Blog party that has 400 attendees with three separate reveal dates.  If you are interested in future Bead Soup Parties then become a follower of Lori's and watch as she announces these way in advance so you can join.

I also found out that my second partner has a reveal date of July 28th so I've got sixteen days to get cracking and come up with something unique and fun with my "cup of soup".  I've got it simmering now and need to start stirring the pot to get it ready.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Another Bead Soup Blog Party Partner

I was on the Bead Soup Blog Party Facebook Page last week, when one of the participants announced that her assigned partner had to drop out.  Judy Jacobs was looking for someone else who could step in.  Since I'm on a hot roll of designing and beading, I told her I would do it without a blink.  When she accepted, I decided to take a look at some links for her website and her blog.  All I can say is WOW!  I actually thought the paintings on the home page of her website were fabrics.  The colors are so muted with patterns that just mesmerize the eyes.  When I clicked on her portfolio to look at her other works, I feel in love with the colors of her paintings.  Every single one of them made my Inner Muse just sing with the lovely colors and pattern.  Then I click on the link to view her glass work.  Can we just say WOW! twice in a blog posting.  The colors and shapes drew me in, but the actually construction and design were enough to make me want to drool all over this keyboard.  It is hard to pick out a favorite, but I think this one below really called to me.  Then I strolled over to her blog and once again was enthralled with the colors and patterns of her paintings.  Oh wait, but there is even more to look at.  She has a fan page on Facebook...

My favorite piece of her fused glass pieces
I got her "Soup" a couple days ago, but was working swing shifts so I didn't get a chance to really look closely at what she'd sent me to work with.  Stunning is all I can say.  The fused glass pieces are just wonderful.  I have all these pictures in my head on how to use them all in a big necklace.  Then she also sent me these adorable porcelain heads.  Am I one lucky girl or not?  I need to get my sketch book out for this one.  I don't want to do anything that will overwhelm the fused glass, but I want something intricate and rich enough to accompany the glass.  I'm going to be really truly enjoying myself these next two months creating and designing and most of all BEADING. 

close up of the fused glass pieces...the colors are amazing

Monday, July 9, 2012

Beading for a Cure: Layne's Legacy

Shawnee Moonlight Stroll
Weather has been crazy here in Central Ohio.  We have power which is fabulous since we had several days of plus 100 degrees and actually broke the all time records on two of those days.  So I have been hunkering down staying inside the air conditioning while I can.  Had a wee bout of Asthma problems yesterday so had to take my emergency medicine, sleep, and remain quiet and still.  But that didn't mean that my hands had to keep still.  I have been working on my Beading for a Cure kit for about a week and half now.

Beginning using Nicole's Bead Backing
Caging focal pieces
When I first got the colors they did absolutely nothing for me.  I was stumped for months not knowing what I was going to do.  I usually do a doll for the challenge and had a few ideas, but nothing clicked.  I started on a Leslie Molen doll intending to embellish the clothing, but even that did not pan out very well.  I had the kit beads sitting on my work table trying to motivate me, when I decided to pull out the ceramic pieces I had purchased at Stony Creek Beads while in Michigan last month.  I loved the color and texture of Duane Collin's pieces.  I must have as I bought three of them.  It is always a tough call to take something that you really like and decide to use it for a donation piece, but I want something that will possibly attract more attention next year when it is to be auctioned off on eBay.   Each participate of Layne's Legacy buys the kit prepared by either Whimbeads or Beyond Beadery.  This year, it was Beki Haley's turn to pick out the kit beads and the color palette.  The rules are that you must use at least ONE of each item in your kit such as the crystals, different color and size seed bead, and/or pieces with the kit.  You may add any focal element and one type/color of other bead.  Remember a bead is considered anything that has a hole in it so you can use just about anything.  For this year, I had a real problem with the matt bluish colored peanut beads, so I used them as a structural building block for my caged cabochons.  I added the ceramic focal piece by Duane Collins and build upon the color with dichroic glass cabochons I'd gotten from my Synergy partner.  Instead of adding one color/type of seed bead, I decided to add bone rondells all the same color and basic uniform size from the same dye lot.  The natural brown color enhanced the other colors and really brought out the back ground of the raku focal piece.

Close Up

outlining brings out the colors

I started out with a piece of green Nicole's Bead Backing.  The green background also enhanced the turquoise seed beads. Then I began to bead.  I did not have any particular design in mind when I started, but as I surrounded the focal piece with a caged technique I learned from Jamie Cloud Eakin's book, slowly the design just began to present.  I tried to stay consistent on each side making them mirror each other, but sometimes things just don't want to stay consistent do they?  I had the whole piece finished when I took a good look at it and found something missing. I wanted everything to look complete so I got to thinking about when I was a little girl laying on the floor with my box of 64 Crayolas and a brand new coloring book.  With each picture I completed, I would outline the whole piece to bring out all the details.  Perfect!  I decided to use the size 15 browns to outline the whole collar.  It worked out well.  I loved it.

Then the fun began of putting it all together and embellishing.  I counted out all the drops and crystals I had left dividing them up into equal portions.  Then I decided to count the metallic bugles and use them in the fringe.  I didn't have many left so I calculated how many I could use in each fringe and adjusted the number in each row reducing the numbers as they fringe worked up into the main body of the piece.  I was pretty happy with the finished piece.  So happy that I'm planning on making another collar for myself using a few different color variations as I can stray away from the requirements of the kit.

Now all I have left is to fill out the paper work and send with pictures to the Beading For a Cure committee (ie, Kate and Colleen).  Changing from making a doll for this project and focusing on my new obsession with making collars has been a great challenge for me.  Using the two books I have recently reviewed for Lark Crafts (Jamie Cloud Eakin & Sherry Serafini) has given me more ideas and instructions on successful beaded collars.  I think I'm hooked.  Now to figure out a name for this piece.  I was thinking  Shawnee Moonlight Stroll.  Many times Chris and I would walk the paths of Shawnee Forrest down in Southern Ohio.  A beautiful place filled with exotic sights and quiet places for meditation.